Chapters 13, 14 & 15
Instead of taking a taxi back to his hotel, Holden decides to have a long
walk back instead, wearing his red hunting cap with the earflaps down.
When he eventually returns to the hotel, the elevator man who doubles as a
pimp, Maurice, offers to provide Holden with female company at $5 a throw, or $15 for the night.
Holden agrees to go for a $5 session, but almost immediately regrets it. Holden is more depressed than ever, and is really not ready to have sex. When the call girl Sunny arrives, she says the fee is $10, but Holden only gives her $5 and she leaves, calling him ‘a crumb-bum’.
When he is depressed Holden often talks to his dead brother, Allie, out
loud. Here is one of the occasions on which this takes place. Sunny and Maurice return to extract a further $5 from Holden by force.
It is Sunday morning and Holden goes down to have a large breakfast.
There he meets two nuns and they have a conversation about Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet. Holden leaves after giving them a generous donation of $10.
He then ‘phones Sally Hayes and arranges to meet her at 2.00 p.m.
He checks out from the hotel.
When Sunny arrives, Holden confesses to being nervous and admits that he is
still a virgin. He is interested in sex, but he doesn’t quite understand how to get there. What he eventually learns with Sunny is that he prefers not to get there with a prostitute. The whole
situation only adds to Holden’s depression. Out of all this, Holden still has some healthy values and this is one of the likeable things about him.
Another thing, which adds to Holden’s depression, is the fact that Sunny is
around his age and she is forced to lead a life such as this.
One interesting point is that Salinger’s boyhood nickname was Sunny.
Is this a Freudian slip or does it reveal something about the author himself?
Learning nothing from his fight with Stradlater, Holden calls Maurice a
moron, and is punched in the stomach for his trouble. Sunny takes the $5. After this Holden feels suicidal.
Holden is again acting strangely. His discussion with the nuns seems
absurd after his encounter with the prostitute and her pimp. It is clear that he is very confused about women.
Sally Hayes is everything that Jane Gallagher is not. Unconventional,
superficial, stupid and phony, but she is someone to spend the day with and she is very good-looking. Holden is both drawn to and repelled by her.
Another matter that is giving him concern is his dwindling money, although
he feels good about the donation he made to the nuns. He feels less good about the drinks he paid for the tourists at the Lavender Room and somewhere along the line he has dropped $10, which is a considerable
amount of money at that time.