In the beginning of chapter 8 there is a short paragraph of Holden describing how he feels after the fight with Stradlater. Later, he moves on to talk about his experience being on the train with his classmates mother. Although, the beginning paragraph grabbed me. Why did he only talk about his pain for ONE short paragraph? Did it even hurt him? I know if I got punched by a guy who is supposed to be an athlete, I would have a mouthful to tell everyone about it. Thats when I thought, Do women or men have a higher tolerance for pain?
Here is the short paragraph I mentioned:
“It was too late to call up for a cab or anything, so I walked the whole way to the station. It wasn’t too far, but it was cold as hell, and the snow made it hard for walking, and my Gladstones kept banging hell out of my legs. I sort of enjoyed the air and all, though. The only trouble was, the cold made my nose hurt, and right under my upper lip, where old Stradlater’d laid one on me. He’d smacked my lip right on my teeth, and it was pretty sore. My ears were nice and warm, though. That hat I bought had earlaps in it, and I put them on–I didn’t give a damn how I looked. Nobody was around anyway. Everybody was in the sack. ” (30)
From this, I gathered a couple of things.
1. The cold made his nose and his upper lip hurt more.
2. Those are the places Stradlater hit him at
3. His lip is sore from being hit on his teeth.
4. He admits this particular spot “pretty sore”.
5. He finds relief in the warm earlaps.
This intrigues me. If I had gotten hit, I would have hurt a little bit more than what he describes. After a little research, here is what I found:
“…overall, women were more likely to indicate higher pain levels than men, says lead author Dr. Atul Butte, chief of systems medicine in the department of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. And that was true across almost all of the different diseases. ” I was a little surprised when I read this. I always thought women were tougher. 😉
“What accounts for the gender gap? Hormones may explain some of the difference — studies have shown that estrogen in women can help dampen the activity of pain receptors, helping them to tolerate higher levels of pain. That means, however, that they may become more sensitive to pain during low-estrogen parts of the menstrual cycle.” This explains a little bit why the level of pain may vary in women.
But still, why was Holden so nonchalant about his injuries?
“There may also be explanations that have nothing to do with biology. Men, for example, may feel compelled by cultural stereotypes to be tough, and therefore report feeling less pain than they really do —especially when asked by the mostly female nursing staff.”
It looks like the psychologist that Holden was speaking to may have been a woman and he wanted to sound a little tougher. This makes sense to me, boys may say they aren’t in a lot of pain to protect their egos.
Photo: http://www.projectup.net/blog/images/stories/20130418_Couple-Puching-Boxing.jpg by Bryan Yao
Vote on a Poll to see what others think, Do Men or Women tolerate pain better?: