Study Guide

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 13

By J. D. Salinger

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Chapter 13

  • Holden walks 41 blocks back to his hotel, on the grounds that sometimes, you just feel like walking. True that.
  • It's cold, so he puts his hunting hat back on, noting that he doesn't care how he looks.
  • Too bad he doesn't have his gloves, which someone at Pencey stole.
  • It's also too bad that he's kind of a coward. Even if he did know who stole his gloves, he wouldn't have had the guts to beat the guy up like he deserved.
  • Anyway, he'd much rather push someone out a window than sock them in the jaw.
  • Wow. Talk about escalating violence.
  • Heading into yet another bar for yet another drink (#4, if you're keeping count), Holden assures us he has a great tolerance for alcohol. He puked once, but only because he wanted to. Not because he had to.
  • Uh-huh. Pretty sure we've heard that one.
  • He changes his mind, though, when he sees some smelly, drunk men coming out of the bar. Holden ends up back at the (depressing) hotel.
  • As soon as he gets into the elevator, the elevator man asks him if he's up for a good time.
  • Actually, the elevator man wants to set him up with a woman. And by "set up," we mean he wants to pimp out a prostitute for five bucks.
  • Holden, who by the way has told the elevator man he is 22, says sure. When he gets back to his room, he changes his shirt and brushes his teeth. Classy!
  • Actually, now that the time has come, Holden informs us he's a virgin. Not that he hasn't had a few opportunities, it's just that he never got around to it.
  • The problem is, most girls always tell you to stop. Most guys just keep going, but Holden actually stops.
  • Um, we find this extremely disturbing.
  • Anyway, he figures that now is the chance to get in some practice.
  • Right on time, the girl shows up at his door. She's not bad-looking, and asks Holden if he's the guy that Maurice (the elevator man) is sending her to.
  • When Holden confirms, she takes off her coat and sits down on his bed in her green dress. She looks nervous, probably because she's about Holden's age.
  • Holden introduces himself as Jim Steele, and the prostitute, obviously not one for the chit-chat, takes her dress off.
  • This, of course, only makes Holden even more nervous.
  • He asks her for her name (Sunny—we're guessing not her real name) and then wants to know if they can just chat for a while.
  • She's all "whatever" and asks him to hang up her dress in the closet. This depresses Holden, since he can imagine her buying it in a store where no one knew that she was really a prostitute, like maybe he'd feel better if he'd stop imagining these depressing scenarios.
  • Sunny is a bad conversationalist and just wants to get the sex over with already.
  • Holden's not up for it, so he makes up a story about having had a recent operation on his clavichord, which isn't so much a part of the body as it is a musical instrument. Sunny doesn't know this, of course.
  • She does, however, think Holden is cute, much like a guy in the movies. So she sits in his lap.
  • When he doesn't immediately throw her down and go at it, she gets irritated. She demands the money, so Holden gives her the five dollars that Maurice said it would cost.
  • Sunny ups the price to ten, and then basically storms out the door when he refuses.

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