Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

All of a sudden, this lady got on at Trenton and sat down next to me. Practically the whole car was empty, because it was pretty late and all, but she sat down next to me, instead of an empty seat, because she had this big bag with her and I was sitting in the front seat. She stuck the bag right out in the middle of the aisle, where the conductor and everybody could trip over it. She had these orchids on, like she'd just been to a big party or something. She was around forty or forty-five, I guess, but she was very good looking. Women kill me. They really do. I don't mean I'm oversexed or anything like that – although I am quite sexy. I just like them, I mean. They're always leaving their goddam bags out in the middle of the aisle. (8.4)

It's interesting to see what Holden identifies as sexy, feminine attributes—like leaving bags in out in the middle of the aisle. His observations can actually be quite incisive, lending some weight to the argument that, actually, Holden is quite beyond his years (at least in some ways).

Quote #8

"Would you care for a cigarette?" I asked her.

She looked all around. "I don't believe this is a smoker, Rudolf," she said. Rudolf. That killed me.

"That's all right. We can smoke till they start screaming at us," I said. She took a cigarette off me, and I gave her a light.

She looked nice, smoking. She inhaled and all, but she didn't wolf the smoke down, the way most women around her age do. She had a lot of charm. She had quite a lot of sex appeal, too, if you really want to know. (8.24-27)

For being a sexually insecure sixteen-year-old, Holden has guts. We might need to think twice before writing him off as a socially inept kid.

Quote #9

After he left, I looked out the window for a while, with my coat on and all. I didn't have anything else to do. You'd be surprised what was going on on the other side of the hotel. They didn't even bother to pull their shades down. I saw one guy, a gray-haired, very distinguished-looking guy with only his shorts on, do something you wouldn't believe me if I told you. First he put his suitcase on the bed. Then he took out all these women's clothes, and put them on. Real women's clothes – silk stockings, high-heeled shoes, brassiere, and one of those corsets with the straps hanging down and all. Then he put on this very tight black evening dress. I swear to God. Then he started walking up and down the room, taking these very small steps, the way a woman does, and smoking a cigarette and looking at himself in the mirror. He was all alone, too. Unless somebody was in the bathroom—I couldn't see that much. Then, in the window almost right over his, I saw a man and a woman squirting water out of their mouths at each other. It probably was highballs, not water, but I couldn't see what they had in their glasses. Anyway, first he'd take a swallow and squirt it all over her, then she did it to him – they took turns, for God's sake. You should've seen them. They were in hysterics the whole time, like it was the funniest thing that ever happened. I'm not kidding, the hotel was lousy with perverts. I was probably the only normal bastard in the whole place – and that isn't saying much. I damn near sent a telegram to old Stradlater telling him to take the first train to New York. He'd have been the king of the hotel. (9.14)

Shmoop doesn’t like to judge, but we do see why Holden would think of a cross-dressing gentleman as a “pervert.” But a couple having a good time with some water? A little odd, but not exactly extraordinary. To Holden, everything “sexy” just ends up seeming perverted.

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