Revealing Caulfield Essay

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In Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, the physical and psychological unraveling of the narrator, Holden Caulfield, is related through his inarticulate, but sincere voice. Salinger weaves Holden's narration in a way that reflects the young character's age through his words and thoughts. At 16 years young, Holden's narration is often pessimistic, at times enthusiastic, and above all else contradictory. The same could be said about his thoughts concerning the topic of sex, which is a growing source of anxiety for the 16 year old. And Holden is confronted by it quite often in the course of his weekend-and-a-bit adventure. But, unlike most of the teenagers surrounding him, Holden views sex in a different light. Through the narration of his …show more content…
If she was decent enough to let you get sexy with her all the time, you at least shouldn't talk about her that way" (145). Holden feels that respect is important in a relationship, past or present and is appalled by Luces' comment. Holden's sensitivity is further developed as he later admits to Luce that:

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. (148)

Holden feels that he must really make a meaningful connection with a girl or else he will lose desire for her. An example of Holden's sensitivity in action comes in the form of his reaction to Sunny, the prostitute, removing her dress before him:

I know you're supposed to feel pretty sexy when somebody 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. (95)

The source of his depression becomes more evident after he asks Sunny if she feels "like talking for awhile" (95). Holden feels that he needs to talk to Sunny in a desperate attempt at making a connection with her. He wants to like her. He needs to like her or else he will lose all desire for her. Holden also shows sensitivity to a woman's needs when he admits to himself that he'd be willing to sleep with Sunny, to "get some practice on her," in case he ever
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