Chapter 13 Notes from The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 13

Holden, who's tired of taxi cabs, walks all forty-one blocks back to his hotel. His hands are freezing because his gloves were stolen by some Pencey boy, a fact that leads him through some pretty honest meditation upon his own "yellowness." Holden is unwilling to throw a fist over much of anything, though he doesn't think this is purely cowardice.

"I hate fist fights. I don't mind getting hit so much- - although I'm not crazy about it, naturally - but what scares me most in a fist fight is the guy's face. I can't stand looking at the other guy's face, is my trouble. It wouldn't be so bad if you could both be blindfolded or something. It's a funny kind of yellowness, when you come to think of it, but it's yellowness, all right. I'm not kidding myself." Chapter 13, pg. 90

Topic Tracking: Empathy 6

It's quite late at this point, and Holden steers away from the bars and is almost safely back in his room when the elevator man asks him if he's interested "in a little tail t'night?" (pg. 91) It's been a bad and lonely night, so Holden says yes, an answer he soon regrets. It's at this point that he blurts out what's pretty clear from his behavior: "If you want to know the truth, I'm a virgin. I really am. I've had quite a few opportunities to lose my virginity and all, but I've never got around to it yet." Chapter 13, pg. 92

Topic Tracking: Innocence 4

His chance comes in the form of a pretty-enough young girl, but she is more a girl than a prostitute to Holden. Within moments of her arrival it's pretty obvious that he's not going to take her to bed. She's not much for his nervous small talk, and when he asks her name she rolls her eyes and tells him "Sunny".

Holden resorts to his favorite coping mechanism - lying - and tells Sunny he's just had a major operation on his clavichord. Sunny puts on her best sell, climbing on Holden's lap and whispering in his ear, but this only makes him more nervous. In the end, he pays her for services-not-rendered, and she leaves, though not before making a stink that he owes her five more dollars and dismissing him as a "crumb-bum." Again, Holden's a little haunted by humanity.

"She was a pretty spooky kid. Even with that little bitty voice she had, she could sort of scare you a little bit. If she'd been a big old prostitute, with a lot of makeup on her face and all, she wouldn't have been half as spooky." Chapter 13, pg. 98

Topic Tracking: Empathy 7
Topic Tracking: Phonies 6

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