The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 14: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In Chapter 14 of 'The Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger, we look at the aftermath of the poor decisions Holden Caulfield makes during his time in New York City.

The Prostitute and the Pimp

At this point in the story, Holden Caulfield, the 16-year-old narrator of the J.D. Salinger novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is lying in bed, thinking about religion. Sunny, the prostitute that visited him the night before, comes to his door with her pimp. Even though Holden did not have sex with her, she tries to double her price and is here to collect. What will happen to Holden if he doesn't pay up?

Talking to Allie

After Sunny leaves, Holden feels worse than he did before she got there. He talks out loud to his younger brother, Allie, who died of leukemia. Holden rewrites the story of the time that he wouldn't let Allie hang out with him: 'Boy, I felt miserable. I felt so depressed, you can't imagine. What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed.'

Thinking About Praying

Even though Holden identifies himself as an atheist, or someone that doesn't believe in God, he feels like praying. Holden likes Jesus, but he doesn't like the Disciples or most other things about the Bible:'They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to Him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting Him down.' Besides Jesus, the character in the Bible that Holden identifies most with is Legion. Legion was forced to live alone because he was possessed by demons and self-harm. What does this say about Holden?

Holden likes Jesus but finds the Disciples disappointing.

Sunny and Maurice Return

As Holden is lying on the bed, smoking cigarettes and thinking about religion, Sunny, the prostitute, and Maurice, the pimp, come to the door to collect more money from him. Holden is terrified as he lets them in but stands firm that he isn't going to pay any more.

Then follows a dialogue between Holden and Maurice:

  • 'Chief, you're gonna force me inna roughin' ya up a little bit. I don't wanna do it, but that's the way it looks,' he said. 'You owe us five bucks.' (Maurice) 'I don't owe you five bucks,' I (Holden) said. 'If you rough me up, I'll yell like hell. I'll wake up everybody in the hotel. The police and all.' My voice was shaking like a bastard. 'Go ahead. Yell your goddam head off. Fine,' old Maurice said. 'Want your parents to know you spent the night with a whore? High-class kid like you?' He was pretty sharp, in his crumby way. He really was.'

While Maurice holds Holden against the door, Sunny finds Holden's wallet and takes five dollars out of it. Have you ever gotten so mad that you started crying? Holden starts crying, which just makes him madder. Before Maurice leaves, he punches Holden in the stomach, leaving him doubled up on the floor.

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