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

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 17 Quotes Page 1

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(Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 1

I said no, there wouldn't be marvelous places to go to after I went to college and all. Open your ears. It'd be entirely different. We'd have to go downstairs in elevators with suitcases and stuff. We'd have to phone up everybody and tell 'em good-by and send 'em postcards from hotels and all. And I'd be working in some office, making a lot of dough, and riding to work in cabs and Madison Avenue buses, and reading newspapers, and playing bridge all the time, and going to the movies and seeing a lot of stupid shorts and coming attractions and newsreels. Newsreels. Christ almighty. There's always a dumb horse race, and some dame breaking a bottle over a ship, and some chimpanzee riding a goddam bicycle with pants on. It wouldn't be the same at all. You don't see what I mean at all. (17.60)

It’s not exactly that Holden’s afraid of getting older; it more that he finds adult like repulsive. He wants to escape the system before he ends up just another "phony" concerned with money and parties and social formalities. (Although, only a rich kid could sneer at “making a lot of dough.” Just saying.)

Quote 2

We horsed around a little bit in the cab on the way over to the theater. At first she didn't want to, because she had her lipstick on and all, but I was being seductive as hell and she didn't have any alternative. Twice, when the goddam cab stopped short in traffic, I damn near fell off the seat. Those damn drivers never even look where they're going, I swear they don't. Then, just to show you how crazy I am, when we were coming out of this big clinch, I told her I loved her and all. It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it. I'm crazy. I swear to God I am. (17.10)

Hm. Just a few chapters ago, Holden was saying how sick it made him to listen to Stradlater’s coaxing, and now here he is saying that Sally “didn’t have any alternative” because he was being “seductive as hell.” What’s up with that?

Quote 3

I was way early when I got there, so I just sat down on one of those leather couches right near the clock in the lobby and watched the girls. […] It was really nice sightseeing, if you know what I mean. In a way, it was sort of depressing, too, because you kept wondering what the hell would happen to all of them. When they got out of school and college, I mean. You figured most of them would probably marry dopey guys. Guys that always talk about how many miles they get to the gallon in their goddam cars. (17.1)

Sometimes, Holden makes personal connections without ever reaching out—or even talking—to another individual. Here, he even makes himself depressed over the futures of the girls he's watching, even though he doesn’t know the first thing about them.

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