The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 12 Quotes Page 1

How we cite the quotes:
(Chapter.Paragraph)

"The ducks. Do you know, by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves – go south or something?"

Old Horwitz turned all the way around and looked at me. He was a very impatient-type guy. He wasn't a bad guy, though.

"How the hell should I know?" he said.

"How the hell should I know a stupid thing like that?"

"Well, don't get sore about it," I said. He was sore about it or something.

"Who's sore? Nobody's sore."

I stopped having a conversation with him, if he was going to get so damn touchy about it. But he started it up again himself. He turned all the way around again, and said, "The fish don't go no place. They stay right where they are, the fish. Right in the goddam lake."

[…] "Listen," he said. "If you was a fish, Mother Nature'd take care of you, wouldn't she? Right? You don't think them fish just die when it gets to be winter, do ya?"

"No, but – "

"You're goddam right they don't," Horwitz said, and drove off like a bat out of hell. He was about the touchiest guy I ever met. Everything you said made him sore. (12.8-28)

Even when Holden does find someone else willing to discuss his interest in the ducks (and mortality), he classifies the man as "touchy" and paints a picture of him as emotionally unstable. In fact, the cab driver isn't that different from Holden, who experiences some emotional outbreaks of his own.

Quote 2

New York's terrible when somebody laughs on the street very late at night. You can hear it for miles. It makes you feel so lonesome and depressed. I kept wishing I could go home and shoot the bull for a while with old Phoebe. (12.1)

The literal only thing that seems to make Holden feel better is thinking about Phoebe—maybe because she’s the only person he can connect with.

I stopped having a conversation with him, if he was going to get so damn touchy about it. But he started it up again himself. He turned all the way around again, and said, "The fish don't go no place. They stay right where they are, the fish. Right in the goddam lake."

[…] "Listen," he said. "If you was a fish, Mother Nature'd take care of you, wouldn't she? Right? You don't think them fish just die when it gets to be winter, do ya?"

"No, but—"

"You're goddam right they don't," Horwitz said, and drove off like a bat out of hell. He was about the touchiest guy I ever met. Everything you said made him sore. (12.8-28)

Even when Holden does find someone else willing to discuss his interest in the ducks (and mortality), he classifies the man as "touchy" and possibly emotionally unstable. Pot, meet kettle: the cab driver isn't all that different from Holden, who experiences some emotional outbreaks of his own.

Next Page: Chapter 13 Quotes
Previous Page: Chapter 11 Quotes

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