Sexuality is a recurring motif in The Catcher in The Rye. Both physical and emotional relationships offer Holden opportunity to open up to the world and see that there is nothing wrong with being a conformist. They also represent what he fears most about the adult world: complexity, unpredictability, and potential for conflict and change. As he acts out at the Museum of Natural History in chapter 16, Holden likes the world to be silent and frozen, predictable and unchanging.
Sex is a motif that frequently reoccurs in the novel, “The Catcher in the Rye”. This motif seems to play a significant role affecting the surroundings and thoughts of Holden Caulfield. Most of the time this motif appears in the novel, the sole purpose of its meaning is to display their manliness to others. When Holden suspects that Stradlater had sex with Jane, it made him mad that it drove him crazy. However, on the other hand with Ackley, he ignores whatever he claims to have done with other girls. There is a different reaction for each person’s scenario. But in the end, when sex is approached to Holden and if the sex does not involve him, he tries not to think about it too much.
Then there are times when Holden encounters sexual arousals, and thinking about his past sex experience which he creates the impression that he enjoys talking about it. All these aspects of Holden suggest that he is a type of person who only wants the attention for himself in some ways. When he is in the public eye, he does not express his true feelings but constantly lies instead. In his mind, all he does is call people phony or other negative comments. This motif partially proves that he is full of himself, yet does not receive what he wants.
In chapter 13, he even has an opportunity for a prostitute to come to his hotel room. He jumps on the opportunity, but doesn’t commit the act of sexual intercourse. After his encounter with the prostitute, an act of violence is committed. This will be talked about in my next paragraph. In about every chapter, he talks about how he or one of his friends did something to a girl. He talked about his neighbor a bunch of times in the novel. Her name was Jane Gallagher. One time he talks about how he kissed her. He is always looking for a girl to talk to. In the story, he talks with one of his friends about his sex life. He tells him how terrible it was.
In conclusion, sex made a major influence on Holden’s life. Although he still had some desires that all men have, Sex was a motif, from my understanding, that made Holden dig deep into being a transcendentalist. He was constantly let down by it and it changed his perception on life itself. Although he was someone who hated everything, I believed he had some sort of insight to everything that was going on. All he did was state the truth from his perspective. And, to me, there is nothing wrong with that.
Courtney from Study Moose