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Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye - Holden´s attitude and relationship to sex and girls

Referat / Aufsatz (Schule) 2003 6 Seiten

Didaktik - Englisch - Literatur, Werke


J. D. Salinger – „The Catcher in the Rye“ Holdens attitude and relationship to girls and sex

Selma Thurmer:

- daughter of his former headmaster

- he likes her but makes clear that she didn´t drive the men crazy => has a bit compassion with her

→ p. 7: “She wasn´t exactly the type that drove you mad with desire. She was a pretty nice girl, though”

- mentions her appearance which does not appeal him but he likes her nevertheless

→ p. 7: “I liked her. She had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place, but you felt sort of sorry for her”

- Selma Thurmer is not very important for him. He recognizes her and he likes her in a special way but she is not beautiful enough to fulfil his demands.

Jane Gallagher:

- was a date of his roommate Stradlater
- Stradlater does not even know the name of Jane => thought her name were Jean
- Holden knows some facts about her, not Stradlater => but Stradlater is not very interested in her

→ p. 35: “`How´d she happen to mention me? Does she go to B.M. now? She said she might go to Shipley, too. I thought she went to Shipley. Howd she happen to mention me?´ I was pretty excited. I really was.

`I don´t know, for Chrissake. Lift up, willya? You´re on my towel,´Stradlater said. I was sitting on his stupid towel”

→ p. 35: “`She practically lived right next door to me the summer before last. She had this big goddam Dobermann Pinscher´”

- he is a bit in love with her or admire her

→ p.35: “`Jane Gallagher,´I said. I couldn´t get over it. `Jesus H. Christ´”

- Holden is sure that he knows Jane very well, in my eyes: is not really sure whether he does not know her so well because he has to confirm it, has to convince himself

→ p. 81: “I still couldn´t get her off my brain. I knew her like a book. I really did”

- Jane does not like him at the beginning of their meeting, both had some problems to get to know

→ p. 81: “The way I met her, this Dobermann Pinscher she had used to come over and relieve himself on our lawn, and my mother got very irritated about it. She called up Jane´s mother and made a big stink about it. My mother can make a very big stink about that kind of stuff. Then what happened, a couple of days later I saw Jane lying on her stomach next to the swimming-pool, at the club, and I said hello to her. I knew she lived in the house next to ours, but I´d never conversed with her before or anything. She gave me a big freeze when I said hello that day, though. I had a helluva time convincing her that I didn´t give a good goddam where her dog relieved himself”

→ p. 81: “Anyway, after that, Jane and I got to be friends and all. I played golf with her that same afternoon”

- confesses that they haven´t any physical contact

→ p. 81: “I don´t mean it was anything physical or anything – it wasn´t – but we saw each other all the time. You don´t always have to get too sexy to know a girl”

- is a bit jealous of Stradlater

- thinks pretty often about Jane and Stradlater, maybe he is afraid of Stradlater´s bad influence on Jane and is worried about her => Stradlater could exploit her or Stradlater wants her only for sex or they had already sex

→ p. 52: “Most guys at Pencey just talked about having sexual intercourse with girls all the time – like Ackley, for instance – but old Stradlater really did it”

→ p. 81: “I sat down in the vomity-looking chair in the lobby and thought about her and Stradlater sitting in that goddam Ed Banky´s car, and though I was pretty damn sure old Stradlater hadn´t given her the time”

- they are not only friends, they close to necking each other but not more
- but he mentioned their close contact so it must be important for him, he remembers every detail

→ p. 82: “I remember this one afternoon. It was the only time old Jane and I ever got close to necking, even. It was a Saturday and it was raining like a bastard out, and I was over at her house, on the porch – they had this big screened-in porch. We were playing checkers. I used to kid her kings out of the back row. But I didn´t kid ger much, though”

- Indeed Jane is the most important girl in his life. Due to her aloofness he is challenged and wants to capture Jane´s heart. But I think in my eyes Holden is not the boy Jane is searching for because she had a date with Stradlater and he is a completely other boy according to Holden.

Lady in the train:

- astonishes that she sat next to him

→ p. 57: “The whole car was empty, because it was pretty late and all, but she sat down next to me”

- appealed by her although she was a bit older

→ p. 58: “She was around forty or forty-five, I guess, but she was very good-looking”

→ p. 58: “She was just nice and all”

→ p. 59: “She had a terrifically nice smile”

→ p. 59: “I liked old Morrow´s mother”

→ p. 60: “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”

- he likes to phone with people => loneliness

- judges people also by their voices

→ p. 58: “She had a nice voice. A nice telephone voice, mostly”

- firstly he was not very interested in her but during the talk he began to feel sorry he had told her lies (wrong name, told her he had got an operation)
- at the end: does not want to visit the woman for all the money in the world => even if he´s desperate => maybe he is too proud
- The lady is older than the other female persons who he mentioned. He is very appealed by her but does not want to have a relationship with her because I think he is afraid of her experiences.

Sally Hayes:

- wanted to call her after he realized that he couldn´t call Jane => second choice
- he had a date with her (they went to the movies and after that ice-skating)
- calls her because he knew she had vacation
- doesn´t like her very much

→ p. 63: “Then I thought of calling this girl I used to go around with quite frequently, Sally Hayes, because I know her Christmas vacation had started already – she´d written me this long, phoney letter”

→ p. 111: “I knew she was home because I´d had this letter from her a couple of weeks ago. I wasn´t too crazy about for her, but I´d known her for years”

→ p. 111: “She was quite a little phoney”

- does not respect her and her family very much => does not care if he disturbed her mother, in Jane´s case: he did care
- he only contacted her due to her intellect and the fact that he knew her a long time
- he was very interested in finding out what her character is like and if she is really intelligent => is not so indifferent as it seems
- he is very interested in theatre and literature (likes the storys of his brother D.B.) => these are also Sally´s interests => that´s why he wants to meet her maybe

→ p. 111: “I used to think she was quite intelligent, iny ms stupidity. The reason I did was because she knew quite a lot about the theatre and plays and literature and all that stuff. If somebofy knows quite a lot about those things, it taked you quite a while to find out whether they´re really stupid or not. It took me years to find it out, in old Sally´s case. I think I´d have found it out a lot soone rif we hadn´t necked so damn much”

- in spite of their same interests it is clear that they live under different circumstances => Sally has another vocab which Holden abhors

→ p. 112: “Grand. If there´s one word I hate, it´s grand. It´s so phoney”

- acts very superfical, for him the appearance of girls is important

→ p. 112: “She was very good-looking”

→ p. 130: “She looked terrific”

→ p. 130: “She was so damn good-looking”

→ p.130: “If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she´s late? Nobody”

- he is very confused in Sally´s case, cannot decide what he feel for her, is very jerky

→ p. 130: “The funny part is, I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I´m crazy. I didn´t even like her much, and yet all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her”

→ p. 131: “I told her, I loved her and all. It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it. I´m crazy”

- he judges her by her voice like the other girls

→ p. 130: “She had one of these very loud, embarrassing voices when you met her somewhere”

- jealous of the boy who Sally meets in the theatre => sign for love?

→ p. 133: “You should´ve seen the way they said hello”

→ p. 133: “It was the phoniest conversation you ever heard in your life”

→ p. 134: “I sort of hated old Sally by the time we got in the cab, after listening to that phoney Andover bastard for about ten hours”

- even judge the boy (George) by his voice

→ p. 133: “The jerk had one of those very phoney, Ivy League voices”

- Sally is girl that he cannot estimate. On the one side he thinks he loves her and wants to marry her and on the other side he calls her a phoney and is nerved by her choice of words and voice.

the prostitute:

- orders her because he was depressed and did not know what he did

→ p. 96: “`Okay´, I said. It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn´t even think. (…) When you´re feeling very depressed, you can´t even think”

- he is very superficial and cares only for the appearance

→ p. 96: “`Hey, is she good-looking?´ I asked him. `I don´t want any old bag´”

→ p. 98: “I kept hoping she´d be good-looking”

- he is nervous due to the date => he has no experience and is excited what will happen

→ p. 96: “I know I didn´t have to get all dolled up for a prositute or anything”

→ p. 97: “I was a little nervous. I was starting to feel pretty sexy and all, but I was a little nervous anyway”

- hopes to learn something from the prostitute

→ p. 97: “I figured if she was a prostitute and all, I could get in some practice on her, in case I ever get married or anything”

- is afraid of the meeting, maybe is afraid of the possibility he can fail

→ p. 98: “I sort of just wanted to get is over with”

- loses the interest in the girl when he has the possibility to get a closer relationship to her

→ p. 99: “I was getting more and more nonchalant as it went along”

→ p. 99: “and then she stood up and pulled her dress over her head. I certainly felt peculiar when she did that. I mean she did it so sudden and all. I know you´re supposed to feel pretty sey when comebody gets up and pulls their dress over their head, but I didn´t. Sexy was about the last thing I was feeling. I felt much more depressed than sexy”

- he thinks about her a lot, trys to find out why she acts like she acts

→ p. 99: “She was very nervous, for a prostitute. She really was. I think it was because she was young as hell. She was around my age”

→ p. 99: “It was a funny thing to say. It sounded like a real kid. You´d think a prostitute and all would say `Like hell you are´ or `Cut the crap´ instead of `Like fun you are´”

→ p. 100: “I thought of asking her how she got to be a prostitute and all, but I was scared to ask her”

- he takes a closer look on her voice again, judge her due to her voice

→ p. 99: “She had a tiny little wheeny-whiney voice”

→ p. 102: “Even with that little bitty voice she had, she could sort of scare you”

- began to lie like in the train

→ p. 101: “I had an operation very recently”

- He orders the prostitute to lose his virginity but has not done it because I think he is too romantic. He wants to have his first sex with a girl who he loves.

attitude to sex:

- realized that he likes sex

→ p. 66: “In my mind, I´m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw. Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn´t mind doing if the opportunity came up. I can even see how it might be quite a lot of fun, in a crumby way, and if you were both sort of drunk and all, to get a girl and aquirt water or something all over each other´s face”

- he things a lot about sex and the the way boy´s feel
- does not relaxe when he thinks about sex => makes all complicated

→ p. 66: “if you don´t really like a girl, you shouldn´t horse around with her at all, and if you do like her, then you´re supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it”

- he does not understand sex since it makes him confused
- he made himself sex rules

→ p. 66: “Sex is something I really don´t understand too hot. You never knnow where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away”

- he does not matter with which person he has sex with
- makes a mellow impress

→ p. 67: “I spent the whole night necking with a terrible phoney named Anne Louise Sherman. Sex is something I just don´t understand. I swear to God I don´t”

- confesses that he is a virgin
- had many opportunities to lose his virginity
- sounds like he wants to justify himself

→ p. 97: “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. Something always happens. For instance, if you´re at a girl´s house, her parents always come home at the wrong time – or you´re afraid they will. Or if you´re in the back seat of somebody´s car, there´s always somebody´s date in the front seat – some girl, I mean – that always wants to know what´s going on all over the whole goddam car”

- he blaimes the the girls for the missing sex experience

→ p. 97: “The thing is, most of the time when you´re coming pretty close to doing it with a girl – a girl that isn´t a prostitute or anything, I mean – she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don´t. I can´t help it. You never know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they´re just scared as hell, or whether they´re just telling you to stop so that if you do go through with it, the blame´ll be on you, not them”

→ p. 97: “The trouble is I get to feeling sorry for them. Anyway, I keep most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains”

→ p.97: “I always wish I hadn´t, after I take them home, but I keep doing it anyway”

- he is frustrated because he cannot get a brassière off => fails

→ p. 98: “Take this girl that I just missed having sexual intercourse with, that I told you about. It took me about an hour to just get her goddam brassière off. By the time I did get it off, she was about ready to spit in my eye”

- he also speaks about sex with other boys/men => his friends Luce
- very interested when Luce tells him something about sex in China

→ p. 152: “`Ya mean sex and all? You mean it´s better in China?´”

→ p. 152: “`Listen, I´m serious,´ I said. `No kidding. Why´s it better in the East?´”

- he even lie to his friends and told them that he has many experience with sex, I think he feels ashamed for his missing knowledge
- he has to confirm what he says the whole time => so he believe himself what he said

→ p. 152: “`So I do! So do I regard it as a wuddayacallit – a physical and spiritual experience and all. I really do. But ir depends on who the hell I´m doing it with. If I´m doing it with somebody I don´t even -´”

→ p. 153: “`Maybe I´ll go to China. My sex life is lousy´”

- he becomes pretty enthusiastic by talking about this topic

→ p. 152: “`Not so loud, for God´s sake, Caulfield´”

- Holden claims his sex life is lousy, Luce find a logical reason
- maybe Luce look through Holden => he believes Holden is not ready for sex

→ p. 153: “`Naturally. Your mind is immature´”

- Holden realizes why he cannot have sex with girls => he has to love girls to have sex with them

→ p. 153: “`You know what the trouble with me is? I can never get really sexy – I mean really sexy – with a girl I don´t like a lot. I mean I have to like her a lot. If I don´t, I sort of lose my goddam desire for her and all. Boy, it really screw up my sex life something awful. My sex life stinks´”

- when he spent the night on Mr Antolini and his wife Mr Antolini touched him while he slept => Holden was very confushed, shocked and embrassed

→ p. 199: “`What the hellya doing?´”

→ p. 199: “I mean I was embarrassed as hell”

attitude to girls:

- thinks a lot about this topic
- wonders why girls act like they act

→ p. 83: “The girls I like best are the ones I never feel mich like kidding. Sometimes I think they´d like it if you kidded them – in fact, I know they would – but ir´s hard to get started, once you´ve known them a pretty long time and never kidded them”

- he is really interested in girls and likes to watch girls
- but he does not respect the girls as girls but as sights

→ p. 129: “I (…) watched the girls. A lot of schools were home for vacation already, and there were about a million girls sitting and standing around waiting for their dates to show up. Girls with their legs crossed, girls with their legs not crossed, girls with terrific legs, girls with lousy legs, girls that looked like swell girls, girls that looked like they´re bitched if you knew them. It was really nice sightseeing”

- in spite of Holdens missing respect for girls he wonders what will happen to them in the future and wants to protect them against bad boys (also mentions the boys never reading books (it is important for him that good people read books))

→ p. 129: “Most of them would probably marry dobey guys. Guys that always talk about how many miles they get to a gallon in their goddam cars. Guys that get sore and childish as hell of you beat them at golf, or even just some stupid game like ping-pong. Guys that are very mean. Guys that never read books. Guys that are very boring”


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Salinger Catcher Holden´s



Titel: Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye - Holden´s attitude and relationship to sex and girls