Why does Holden in The Catcher in the Rye pretend to get shot?

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Holden pretends to be shot in the stomach twice in the novel. The first time takes place shortly after the pimp, Maurice, punches him in the stomach and takes an extra five dollars from him. After Maurice punches him, Holden bends over and grabs his stomach like he has been shot. Holden then begins to pretend by saying,

Old Maurice had plugged me. Now I was on the way to the bathroom to get a good shot of bourbon or something to steady my nerves and help me really go into action. I pictured myself coming out of the goddam bathroom, dressed and all, with my automatic in my pocket, and staggering around a little bit. Then I'd walk downstairs, instead of using the elevator. I'd hold onto the banister and all, with this blood trickling out of the side of my mouth a little at a time. What I'd do, I'd walk down a few floors—holding onto my guts, blood leaking all over the place—and then I'd ring the elevator bell. (Salinger, 56)

The second time Holden pretends to be shot in the stomach...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 571 words.)

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