There is a scene in the novel where the protagonist has sex with a woman, beats her up, and then departs leaving some money.

He had left a ten-dollar bill on the dresser for Marsha... He wondered if she would grasp the intended irony.

I haven't found anything about ten dollars before in the novel and definitely have trouble grasping the irony. What is meant here?

  • I haven't read this novel. Is Marsha actually a prostitute, or she isn't and that's the point? Another thought, Marsha's surname isn't Hamilton, is it?
    – shoover
    Jun 3, 2022 at 23:32
  • @shoover She's not a prostitute, more like a femme fatale in the first half of the novel. Her last name is Frazier.
    – DrTyrsa
    Jun 4, 2022 at 10:09
  • I haven't read it, but from this review we find that Marsha is also sleeping with the black leader of a religious movement. So protagonist by sleeping with her, beating her up but paying her 10$, he "treats her as a 10$ whore that she is". Quite surprisingly sexist for Dick...
    – Yasskier
    Jun 7, 2022 at 1:25
  • @Yasskier Before beating her up protagonist says that he's taking her car (she drove them to the motel) and will leave her some money for taxi. So this money would be expected by Marsha. Or is "10$ whore" is an idiom or reference to something? I haven't found anything by brief googling.
    – DrTyrsa
    Jun 7, 2022 at 8:26
  • I've seen an "X dollar whore" (where X can be 5, 10, 20 - or any bill you can find) as an idiom of "cheap"/easy girl. Googling "10 dollars whore" can bring you quite a lot of results - from porn to songs.
    – Yasskier
    Jun 7, 2022 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


Let me turn the comments into an answer:

The "irony" has more to do with the way Hadley leaves the money rather than with the $10 bill itself.

You see, while Hadley was fascinated with Martha, he is shocked when he finds that she has been sleeping with the charismatic black leader of the religious movement. In his twisted mind, that means that she is (forgive my language here) a "whore". Hence he treats her in a way that he believes that whores should be treated: he has sex with her, he beats her up and... leaves the money (for the taxi) on a dresser.

Leaving money on the bedside table/dresser etc after having sex is a typical way of treating sex workers. Leaving only $10 (enough for a ride on a taxi) suggests not only that Marsha is a prostitute, but also that she is a cheap one.

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