Browsing through Catcher in the Rye notes yesterday, I came upon quotes/excerpts from the book at Wikiquotes.
(Spoiler warning: The quotes might reveal the plot and the ending. They also contain profanity)
Here are some excerpts:
“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” “Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.” Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right— I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.
I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn’t do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I’ll admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie. My hand still hurts me once in a while when it rains and all, and I can’t make a real fist any more— not a tight one, I mean— but outside of that I don’t care much. I mean I’m not going to be a goddam surgeon or a violinist or anything anyway.
The Navy guy and I told each other we were glad to’ve met each other. Which always kills me. I’m always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.
The thing is, most of the time when you’re coming pretty close to doing it with a girl— a girl that isn’t a prostitute or anything, I mean— she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don’t. I can’t help it. You never know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they’re just scared as hell, or whether they’re just telling you to stop so that if you do go through with it, the blame’ll be on you, not them. Anyway, I keep stopping. The trouble is, I get to feeling sorry for them. I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn’t any brains. I don’t know. They tell me to stop, so I stop.
You could tell he didn’t feel like discussing anything serious with me. That’s the trouble with these intellectual guys. They never want to discuss anything serious unless they feel like it.
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
- Quotation of Wilhelm Stekel written down on a piece of paper by Mr. Antolini for Holden.
D.B. asked me what I thought about all this stuff I just finished telling you about. I didn’t know what the hell to say. If you want to know the truth, I don’t know what I think about it. I’m sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
For obvious reasons, I have left out the best quote from the book since that would give away the meaning of the title.