What is the incident that happend with Maurice, Sunny, and Holden in Catcher in the Rye?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maurice works the elevator at the hotel where Holden is staying.  He is also a pimp, and after talking to Holden briefly, he sends a prostitute, Sunny, to his room.

Holden returns after hanging out at Ernie's bar in a depressed state of mind.  He walks "forty-one gorgeous blocks" back to his hotel, and as he is riding up in the elevator, the "elevator guy" asks him out of the blue if he is interested in "having a good time".  At first, Holden does not know what the guy, Maurice, is talking about, and he is a little taken aback when he realizes that he is being offered a prostitute, for "five bucks a throw".  Even though it is "against (his) principles", Holden consents.  He is so depressed, he doesn't even really think about what he is doing.

Holden is very nervous while waiting for the prostitute in his room.  He changes his shirt and brushes his teeth, ruminating about his limited sexual experiences to this point in his life.  Holden reveals that he is a virgin, and for a moment considers that "this (is) his big chance, in a way".  Really, though, he is apprehensive, and just "want(s) to get it over with".

A very young girl, Sunny, shows up at his door; she is in a hurry, and very nervous and crude.  Holden suddenly feels even more depressed, and suggests that they just talk for awhile, but Sunny does not take his suggestion kindly and brazenly pulls her dress off and lays it on the bed.  Increasingly uncomfortable, Holden tells her he does not want to have sex with her, citing a recent fictitious operation as an excuse.  He offers her five dollars for her time, but she demands ten; surprisingly, Holden holds his ground and does not give her any more than he had previously agreed upon.  Sunny leaves with a rude rejoinder; Holden says "so long", but does not thank her.  He is glad he didn't (Chapter 13).

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sunny and Maurice do not try to shake down every john they deal with; they only get the idea of shaking Holden down for an extra five dollars because he is obviously young, nervous, and inexperienced. Here is a good example of Holden trying to morph from childhood into adulthood, as he seems to be trying to do throughout the novel--acting a role he hopes he can eventually play with assurance. When he threatens to yell and wake up everybody in the hotel, Maurice says:

"Go ahead. Yell your goddam head off. .  . . Want your parents to know you spent the night with a whore? High-class kid like you?"

Maurice is worldly wise. He sees right through Holden and recognizes him as someone from the upper-middle-class world who probably is carrying a lot of cash and feels insecure in this milieu. Sunny has a little sympathy for Holden because he was nice to her, but she wants the money without any violence, whereas Maurice could become violent just because he hates people who belong to a superior social class--the kind whose bags he carries and who give him tips.

atyourservice | Student

Holden meets Maurice in an elevator. Maurice offers him a night with a prostitute for $5, and he accepts. Sunny (the prostitute) is later sent to his room, and he is unable to do the "deed" with her, because he keeps pitying her and just wants to talk. When he asks her to leave she asks for $10 and he insists he is only paying $5 because that's the price he agreed on. Sunny leaves only to bring Maurice back, and Maurice beats Holden up to get the extra $5 Holden refuses to pay. The event leads to Holden pretending to be shot and walking out of the hotel crouching.

Read the study guide:
The Catcher in the Rye

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question