What is so terrible about the bell boy, and what does this have to do with Holden's character in The Catcher in the Rye?

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afi80fl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Maurice, the bell boy, was not what he seemed.  Rather than being a simple elevator operator, he had another operation underway... prostitution.  He offered Holden the opportunity to hire a prostitute for either an hour, or the evening.  Holden, uncomfortable with the situation, yet unwilling to say no and look young, agreed to hire the girl for an hour.

However, once the prostitute came to Holden's room, he decided against actually using her for her purpose, and instead offered to talk.  She decided to leave, but came back later asking for the full night price.  He tried to state his case that he asked only for the hour, but when Maurice got involved, the situation became ugly very quickly.  Maurice "roughed him up" a bit, while the prostitute went into Holden's wallet and took the money that would cover the full night's services. 

This shows that Holden has very weak character.  He should've never agreed to hire her, but was too much of a coward to say no.  His character was somewhat resolute when Maurice confronted him, but his fear showed through.  This just proves how incredibly weak Holden was emotionally and morally. 

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The Catcher in the Rye

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