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Jane, Sally and Sunny: their impact on Holden

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Dursa Koshkebaghi

on 10 June 2017

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Transcript of Jane, Sally and Sunny: their impact on Holden

Holden's girl drama
Jane, Sally and Sunny: their impact on Holden
In the book "The Catcher in the Rye", it can be agreed that Holden Caulfield is not the most normal person to have ever lived. Readers can easily identify Holden as a lonely and complicated character through the way he acts in his everyday life. Aside from Holden's desire of detaching himself from society, he still would like to take the effort of communicating with others, especially females. Jane Gallagher, Sunny and Sally Hayes are three female characters that have strong impacts on Holden, and represent different stages of his life, either his past, his present or his future. However, this reflection also demonstrates the way that these female figures make Holden a more lonely and complicated person, by also showcasing the emotional manipulation, the contrasting sides and the troublesome endings he has. Therefore, it can be said that
throughout the novel, Holden Caulfield's interactions with female characters Jane, Sally and Sunny, are constantly causing him to envision and reflect on different time periods of his life, making him an abstruse and isolated person who struggles in maintaining relationships with other characters.
Jane Gallagher
Jane Gallagher is the first main female character readers get introduced to.
Holden tells readers that Jane and him were neighbours, and that they spent a lot of time together in the summer.
Jane Gallagher is the only female in which Holden does not think of as "phony".
Holden respects Jane and enjoys spending time with her, not just because of her looks, but because of her personality too.
When Holden thinks of Jane, he thinks of the
Holden automatically thinks of Jane, their memories together, and the times they spent together.
"I know old Jane like a book-I still couldn't get her off my brain. I knew her like a book.I really did. I mean, besides checkers, she was quite fond of all athletic sports, and after I got to know her, the whole summer long we played tennis together almost every morning and golf almost every afternoon."
(Salinger 76)
By remembering Jane, therefore remembering the past, it can be seen that the thoughts and memories of Jane
impact Holden greatly
These thoughts and memories cause Holden to become
emotionally manipulated.
Holden's memories of Jane cause him to experience and
feel a number of emotions all at once.
"...all of a sudden this booze hound her mother was married to came out on the porch and asked her if there were any cigarettes in the house... he looked like the kind of guy that wouldn't talk to you much unless he wanted something off you. He had a lousy personality...Then all of a sudden this tear plopped down on the checkerboard. ...I don't know why but it bothered the hell out of me. So what I did was, I went over and made her move over the glider so that I could sit down next to her...I was kissing her all over- anywhere-her eyes, her nose...I asked her, on the way, if Mr. Cudahy-that was the booze hound's name-had ever tried to get wise with her...I wouldn't've put it past that Cudahy bastard...I never did find out what the hell was the matter.
(Salinger 78-79)
By Holden's diction and word choice, it can be seen that he experiences a number of emotions in a short amount of time.
From just half a page, Holden went through 4 extremely different emotions
This emotional manipulation, and all the feelings he goes through make him the complex and isolated character we know him as.
Holden's thoughts of Jane have showed readers an extremely different side of him.
"We'd get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we'd start holding hands, and we wouldn't quit till the movie was over. And without changing the position or making a big deal out of it. You never even worried, with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was, you were happy. You really were."
(Salinger 79)
Holden is a much more affectionate and happy person.
The thoughts of Jane have had a great impact on Holden, and have made him into a different person.
These little flashbacks of the times he spent with Jane, do not just impact him emotionally, but
as well.
"In every school I've gone to, all the athletic bastards stick together. Stradlater kept taking these shadow punches at my shoulder. He had his toothbrush in his hand, and he put it in his mouth.
"What'd you do?" I said.
Give her the time in Ed Banky's goddam car?" My voice was shaking something awful.
"What a thing to say. Want me to wash your mouth out with soap?"
"Did you
"That's a professional secret, buddy."
This next part, I don't remember so hot. All I know, I got up from the bed, like I was going to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him...Only, I missed."
(Salinger 43)
"The idea of Stradlater being sexually intimate with Jane makes Holden anxious: the reader might speculate as to whether the cause of his nauseating anxiety is his jealousy of Jane and of Stradlater."
Dr. Sarah Graham, a Professor of American Literature at the University of Leicester says...
"...Holden idealizes a girl named Jane Gallagher and wants to protect her from the type of boys he knows at school who would pray upon her innocence. He feels ashamed that he has never "given...[a girl] the time" (56), but he cannot bring himself to use girls in the heartless manner of his roommate Stradlater."
Harold Bloom, an American literacy critic and Professor of Humanities at Yale University says...
Compared to other female characters, Holden was not expecting Sunny.
Holden never knew he was going to meet a female named Sunny.
Sunny is the prostitute Holden agrees to meet with, when coming back from a night out.
According to Holden's description, Sunny is around his age.
It can be said that Sunny represents Holden's
When Holden is speaking to Sunny, readers see that he is mostly speaking about his current state, how he's feeling at that time, and reflecting on the type of person he is.
Throughout all of chapter 13, Holden is stuck in the present and is aware of what is going on around him, at that exact moment. Holden does not have any flashbacks of the past, or any daydreams of the future.
Again, due to Sunny's presence, Holden undergoes emotional manipulation.
Finally, after years of waiting, Holden can finally experience sex, and this time the girl is not going to tell him to stop. However, instead of feeling sensual or excited, Holden goes back to feeling depressed, sad and apathetic.
When with Sunny, readers see a side of Holden they have never seen before.
"It was funny. It made me feel sort of sad when I hung it up. I thought of her going into a store and buying it, and nobody in the store knowing she was a prostitute and all. The salesman probably just thought she was a regular girl when she bought it. It made me feel sad as hell - I don't know why exactly."
(Salinger 96)
Sunny has impacted Holden in a way in which he has become a sympathetic and softhearted person.
Dr. Sarah Graham states...

"In a typical digressive maneuver, Holden tries to engage Sunny in a conversation and her resistance to this emphasizes the limits of their relationship. It is finally clear that he cannot proceed when he thinks about her buying the dress. He begins to empathize with her and feel sympathy for the lack of ordinariness in her life: this identification means that he must refuse the emotionless sexual contact that prostitution offers."
Similar to Jane, Sunny's impact is not just emotional, but physical as well.
Sunny's presence was obviously not for free, and her "manager", Maurice, made sure he told Holden that it costs a "five" for a throw.
Being the only person who remembers Maurice's words, Holden gives Sunny a five.
However, Maurice is not happy, and in the most aggressive way possible, forcefully takes another "five" from his wallet, insisting it actually costs a "ten" for a throw.
"...Then he smacked me. I didn't even try to get out of the way or duck or anything. All I felt was this terrific punch in my stomach."
(Salinger 103)
Harold Bloom also makes a comment on this point.
He states...
"His subsequent image of failure with Sunny and the brutality of Maurice's treatment of him are forceful ways of destroying Holden's man-of-the-world image of himself."
Sally Hayes
One of the last major female characters Holden meets.
Sally Hayes is a girl Holden used to spend much of his time with.
Sally always had the desire of spending time with Holden.
Sally sent Holden a letter, asking him to come set up their Christmas three with them.
In the book, Sally and Holden spend much of their time together speaking about the future.
Therefore, it can be said that
Sally represents Holden's future
, and his life that has yet to come.
"...No kidding. We'll stay in these cabin camps and stuff like that until the dough runs out. Then, when the dough runs out, I could get a job somewhere and we could live somewhere with a brook and all and, later on, we could get married or something. I could chop all our own wood in the wintertime and all. Honest to God, we could have a terrific time. Wuddaya say? C'mon! Wuddaya say? Will you do it with me? Please?"
(Salinger 132)
Again, Sally's impact has caused Holden to experience a "roller coaster" of emotions.
From the moment, Sally and him begin their date, Holden goes through a variety of different emotions.
According to
Martial Van der Linden
and his group of researchers from the
Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research...
"When anticipating personal future events, people sometimes experience intense emotional reactions, which in turn may influence how future simulations are remembered and how they affect decisions, self-control, and ultimately, behaviour. The emotional aspect of the mental stimulation of a future event is thus a key aspect of prospection that impacts significantly on cognition, motivation and behaviour. Moreover, recent research suggests that there are important individual differences in the imagination of emotional future events, which might contribute to various psychopathological states and symptoms."
With Sally, we see a side of Holden we have never seen before.
Sally's impact on Holden has caused readers to see a more
passionate and tenacious side of him.
When Holden is convincing Sally about joining his plan of running away and starting a life together,
he becomes very passionate of what he has to say.
Holden is
to get his point across to Sally, even if she does not understand it.
""You can't just do something like that," old Sally said. She sounded sore as hell.
"Why not? Why the hell not?"
"Stop screaming at me, please," she said. Which was crap because I wasn't even screaming at her.
"Why can'tcha? Why not?""
(Salinger 132)
Holden has again got himself into trouble
due to the presence of a female figure, this time, it is Sally.
His emotional thoughts of the future, in which Sally does not understand,
has caused Holden's mood to change greatly,
and this results in him calling Sally
a "royal pain in the ass".
Holden's comment makes Sally lose her temper and begin crying.
At this moment, H
olden gets scared and nervous because he knows that Sally will go tell her "silent bastard" father
about what he called her, and he will get into trouble.
"She was even crying. Which scared me a little bit, because I was afraid she'd go home and tell her father I called her a pain in the ass."
(Salinger 134)
In conclusion...
the impacts of the female characters, Jane Gallagher, Sunny and Sally Hayes, were one of the major reasons behind Holden Caulfied's complicated and isolated character and behavior. If it was not for these three female figures, Holden would not have had to face all these unfortunate events and distress that occurred in all time periods of his life. Therefore, throughout the novel, Holden Caulfield's interactions with female characters Jane, Sally and Sunny, are constantly causing him to envision and reflect on different time periods of his life, making him an abstruse and isolated person who struggles in maintaining relationships with other characters.
Work Cited:
Graham, Sarah. J.D. Salinger's The Cather in the Rye. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.
Bloom, Harold. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2000. Print.
"Emotional Future Thinking." Affective Sciences. Web 24 Apr. 2016
Salinger, J.D.,E. Micheal Mitchell, and Loti Jacobi.
The Catcher in the Rye
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