“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger Dialectical Journals

by Lindsey Pedroncelli

Chapter

Quote

Review

1

“What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by” (Salinger, 7).

I have this same feeling sometimes when I am leaving a place. I need to wait for that last moment, so I can leave without feeling like I’m missing out on something.

1

“They didn’t have a maid or anything, and they always opened the door themselves. They didn’t have too much dough” (Salinger, 8-9).

The feeling that comes from this quote is a little rude, as if not having much money is a strange thing because you have to do things, such as opening your front door, for yourself.

2

“He put the goddam paper down then and looked at me like he’d just beaten hell out of me in ping-pong or something. […] I wouldn’t’ve read it out loud to him if he’d written it-I really wouldn’t (Salinger, 17).

The personality of Holden really shines through in this quote. Most could say that he is a “typical teenager”.

2

“I’m pretty sure he yelled “Good luck!” I hope not, I hope to hell not. I’d never yell “Good luck!” at anybody. It sounds terrible, when you think about it” (Salinger, 21)

Sometimes when people say good luck, it is almost as if they are saying it because they know that you need it. Other times, it’s all out of kindness.

3

“He was one of these very, very tall, round-shouldered guys-he was about six four-with lousy teeth” (Salinger, 26).

Ackley seems gross, annoying, and actually quite rude, but of course, this is only because of the image that Holden has given us.

3

“He always walked around in his bare torso because he thought he had a damn good build. He did, too. I have to admit it” (Salinger, 34).

Stradlater is a beefcake who seems like a bit of a playa/gigolo.

4

“He always looked all right, Stradlater, but for instance, you should’ve seen the razor he shaved himself with. It was always rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap” (Salinger, 35).

This beautiful figure and handsome face that Stradlater has is a shield over his gross cleaning habits and his “playa” attitude. He is using his looks to hide his flaws, but sooner or later, everyone will know his dirty habits. Is this the reason why Ackley feels he can relate to Stradlater?

4

“You take a guy like Stradlater, they never give your regards to people” (Salinger, 43).

Stradlater seems like a jerk that is full of himself. Will karma ever come back to bite him?

5

“I swear, if that guy was shipwrecked somewhere, and you rescued him in a goddam boat, he’d want to know who the guy was that was rowing it before he’d even get in” (Salinger, 47).

Ackley is a very nervous person who just wants to be accepted, but he tries too hard, so nobody accepts him. It is sad, but it’s almost his fault that things aren’t going his way.

5

“So what I did, I wrote about my brother Allie’s baseball mitt. […] He got leukemia and died […]. You’d have liked him. He was two years younger than I was, but he was about fifty times as intelligent” (Salinger, 49).

Has the loss of his brother been a cause of Holden’s “rebel-ish” attitude? Does he act this way because he is mad, sad, or lonely from the loss of his brother? Or is this just the way he acts?

6

“You weren’t allowed to smoke in the dorm […] I did it to annoy Stradlater” (Salinger, 54).

Usually when people annoy other people, they are doing it for a reason. Is Holden smoking to annoy Stradlater for a certain reason? Does he dislike him> Is he jealous of his gorgeous body and the attention he gets from girls? Or is he annoying him just for the hell of it?

6

“I was so mad, I was practically bawling” (Salinger, 58).

Sometimes I feel like this. When I am very mad about something, such as my sister being made fun of, I get so angry that I just feel like crying.

7

“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad” (Salinger, 67).

I can kind of relate to this feeling because sometimes when I get a present I feel bad that they spend money on me, especially if I don’t’ really like the gift.

7

“I was sort of crying. I don’t know why” (Salinger, 68).

Emotions are a funny thing. They just happen, and sometimes you don’t even know why. The best thing to do is just let them out, in a safe way of course.

8

“That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a goddam toilet seat” (Salinger, 72).

Can you be a little more frank, Holden? I’m not sure your point was made.

8

“But I wouldn’t visit that sonuvabitch Morrow for all the dough in the world, even if I was desperate” (Salinger, 76).

Holden over exaggerates very often and has very descriptive language.

9

“He certainly was good company. Terrific personality” (Salinger, 79).

Holden judges people the minute he meets them. His judgments are right to the point. At first, he thought the cab driver was a wise guy, but after a while he thought he was a pretty cool guy.

9

“The trouble was, that kind of junk was sort of fascinating to watch, even if you don’t want it to be” (Salinger, 81).

Sounds like reality television to me!

10

“The only trouble is, she;s a little too affectionate sometimes” (Salinger, 89).

Will we ever meet Holden’s sister or any of his family? He talks so much about them. He must truly love them. Even though he tries to make himself seem like a bad ass rebel who doesn’t need his family, he does need his family.

10

“ “Do I look like I’m under 21?” ” (Salinger, 91).

Holden tries really hard to get away with being over 21 so he can get drinks at bars. Where does his drinking problem come from? Were/are his parents alcoholics? Or does the stress of school and life force him to drink to relieve the pain?

11

“All of a sudden, on my way out to the lobby, I got old Jane Gallagher on the brain again” (Salinger, 99).

This happens to me very often; when somebody just pops into my mind and they won’t go away. It is very distracting an annoying sometimes.

11

“I don’t know why, but it bothered the hell out of me” (Salinger, 102).

This is when Holden and Jane were playing checkers and Jane starts to cry. It really bothered Holden and he didn’t know why. This just shows how much he really cares about Jane.

12

“He was a very impatient-type guy. He wasn’t a bad guy, though” (Salinger, 107).

Holden does this often. He sets a double standard for people. He makes the audience think that he doesn’t really like the person, but then he says that they really aren’t bad at all.

12

“After I’d told her I had to meet somebody, I didn’t have any goddam choice except to leave” (Salinger, 114).

Holden judges people the minute he meets them. His judgments are right to the point. At first, he thought the cab driver was a wise guy, but after a while he thought he was a pretty cool guy.

13

“ “Me?” I said. Which was a very dumb answer, but it’s quite embarrassing when somebody comes right up and asks you a question like that” (Salinger, 118).

I do this sometimes, and I agree with Holden, it is embarrassing. When you’re the only person there and someone asks you a question and you say “Me?”. Who else could they be talking to?

13

“I didn’t thank her or anything. I’m glad I didn’t” (Salinger, 123).

By not having sex with the prostitute and by not saying thank you or anything to her shows that Holden does have some brains in his head. He might not necessarily know it wasn’t the right thing to do, but at least he didn’t do it.

14

“In the first place, I’m sort of an atheist. I like Jesus and all, but I don’ care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible” (Salinger, 130).

Holden says things like this often. He will say that he believes in one thing, but then again maybe he believes in some of it, but just a little bit. His logic is very confusing.

14

“The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I’m not kidding” (Salinger, 136).

The movies really can ruin you. The movies are hardly ever real and true. They give people an image of the world and life that is completely fake.

15

“It isn’t important, I know, but I hate it when somebody has cheap suitcases” (Salinger, 141).

How much more judgmental can you get, Holden? It’s stupid suitcases. What does it matter if someone doesn’t have nice suitcases?

15

“I apologized like a madman, and they were very polite and nice about it, but it was very embarrassing anyway” (Salinger, 147).

Apologizing is a good thing, but when you start apologizing non-stop, it gets annoying and over-used, almost as if your apology is not even real.

16

“I could hardly wait to get to the park to see if old Phoebe was around so that I could give it to her” (Salinger, 151).

Holden loves his sister and misses her. The way he talks about her makes it obvious.

16

“If Phoebe’d been there, I probably would have, but she wasn’t” (Salinger, 159).

The more Holden talks about Phoebe, the more I want to meet her.

17

“The show wasn’t as bad as some I’ve seen” (Salinger, 163).

What is Holden and movies? What movies has he seen that have caused his view on them to change? What is so annoying to him about the movies?

17

“Then all of a sudden, out of  clear blue sky, old Sally said, “Look. I have to know. Are you or aren’t you coming over to help me trim the tree Christmas Eve? I have to know”” (Salinger, 168).

The way that Sally just randomly brings up the trimming of the Christmas tree shows that her and Holden are really just good friends. They can go from flirting it up on the ice rink, to talking about trimming a Christmas tree.

18

“All I can say is, don’t see it if you don’t want to puke all over yourself” (Salinger, 180).

Classic Holden. I think his reviews of movies are pretty harsh.

18

“My brother D.B. was in the Army for four goddam years” (Salinger, 181).

D.B. seems like a really intelligent, go-getter. He wants to do something with his life. He is motivated and has drive. Maybe Holden needs to hang around him more.

19

“So all I did was, I started discussing topics in general with him. “No kidding, how’s you sex life?”” (Salinger, 188).

Holden and Luce must be pretty close if Holden is asking him about his sex life.

19

“He was strictly a pain in the ass, but he certainly had a good vocabulary. He had the largest vocabulary of any boy at Whooton when I was there. They gave us a test” (Salinger, 193).

I have come to the conclusion that Holden views everyone pretty much the same: They are pains in the ass, but they are actually nice.

20

“ “Yes. You’re drunk. Go to bed now. Where are you? Who’s with you?”” (Salinger, 196).

When Sally gets on the phone to talk to Holden, even though her grandma said she was sleeping, shows that she really cares about Holden. She knows that he is drunk and, even though she is only conversing with him over the phone, she tries to get him to go home. She tries to take care of him as much as she can.

20

“So I got the hell out of the park, and went home. I walked all the way. It wasn’t too far, and I wasn’t tired or even drunk any more” (Salinger, 203).

Holden is going home? What? Is this really happening?

21

“All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll practically anything you want them to” (Salinger, 205).

This is so true. I was even told by one of my friends the other day that this works…

21

“She’s nervous as hell. Half the time she’s up all night smoking cigarettes” (Salinger, 206).

Does Holden get his smoking problem from his mother? Or is it because smoking was something everyone did in that time?

22

” “Don’t swear so much” (Salinger, 218).

By saying this, it shows that Phoebe cares about her brother and wants him to be good and not get himself in trouble. There is no need to curse, and she doesn’t want him to.

22

“That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Salinger, 225).

I was wondering where the name o the book came from. Right from this quote. It has a deep meaning.

23

“He was about the best teacher I ever had, Mr. Antolini. He was a pretty young guy [...] and you could kid around with him without losing your respect for him” (Salinger, 226).

Mr. Antolini is someone who has influenced Holden. Holden trusts him and can talk to him and get advice from him.

23

“Boy, I scared hell out of poor old Phoebe” (Salinger, 233).

Holden cares so much about his little sister. It is so heartwarming to see that even though Holden likes to drink, smoke, and be rebellious, that doesn’t affect the way he treats his sister.

24

” “I had lunch with your dad a couple of weeks ago,” he said all of  a sudden” (Salinger, 250).

This shows how close Holden’s family and the Antolinis are.

24

” “You’re a very, very strange boy” (Salinger, 250).

What exactly does Mr. Antolini mean by this? Why is he telling Holden that he is a strange boy? What an awkward moment…

25

“I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them-all cockeyed, naturally- what it meant, and how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days” (Salinger, 260).

Holden tries as hard as he can to protect his sister from all of the harmful, bad things that world has which, in a way, is quite hypocritical of him considering he takes part in a vast majority of those bad things.

25

“Then all of a sudden she gave me a kiss. Then she held her hand out, and said, “It’s raining. It’s starting to rain” (Salinger, 274).

When I read this, it made me think of my sister and it made me think about how much I love her because it’s moments like this that make life so worthwhile. Even though we fight a lot and want to rip each other’s heads off at times, we really do love each other. Even though Holden and Phoebe may disagree and argue at times, they do love each other, because they are brother and sister.

26

“I mean how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it?” (Salinger, 276).

How true is this? If I tried to count how many times things like this have run through my head, it would take forever.

26

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody” (Salinger, 277).

I think this was a really good way to end the book. It is a very conclusive sentence. In a nutshell, this quote is Holden.

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