Sexuality in Catcher in the Rye

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-Holden says to Sunny, the prostitute: “Then she sat down in my lap… she made me so nervous…” (97) -Regarding his sister: “She put her arms around my neck and all… sometimes she’s too affectionate” (161). -Also with Mr. Antolini. Comment: Just because you hug your brother after suddenly seeing him after a while doesn’t make you overly affectionate. Q: Why do you think Holden is so uncomfortable with physical affection? Ex: “I figured if she was a prostitute and all, I could get in practice on her, in case I ever got married..” (92) Comment: His purpose for calling Sunny isn’t why a man would normally call a prostitute. After Sunny takes off her dress: “I certainly felt peculiar when she did that… I felt more depressed than sexy” (94). Q: Where do you think all of Holden’s loneliness and depression stems from? What is the source? “Don’t you feel like talking for a while?” (95) Comment: So I think the only reason he called Sunny was for company, just to have someone to talk to. On page (192), Holden says, “That kind of stuff’s happened to me about 20 times since I was a kid.” Q: Do you think that what he’s referring to could be actual abuse or just a product of his paranoia? Why do you think he reacted the way he did to Mr. Antolini? “I’d just be the catcher in the rye…” (173) Comment: I think this is one quote in the book that really defines the situation. Basically, Holden wants to preserve innocence in the world, and it’s probably why he never deals with sex itself directly. This is probably his good vs. evil battle. This explains why he feels frustrated when he sees the F word in the museum and at his sister’s school. And why he wants to alienate himself from the corrupt world. When Holden and Luce are discussing sex as being a physical and a spiritual experience, Holden says, “You can’t do it with everybody... and make it
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