The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 20 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
When the weather's nice, my parents go out quite frequently and stick a bunch of flowers on old Allie's grave (20.42)
Holden doesn’t actually make the point, but he doesn’t have to: his parents only care about Allie as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. Visiting the grave when it’s raining? No way.
When I finally got down off the radiator and went out to the hat-check room, I was crying and all. I don't know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome. Then, when I went out to the checkroom […] the hat-check girl was very nice. […] I sort of tried to make a date with her. […] She said she was old enough to be my mother and all. (20.37)
Holden keeps tying together the words "depressed" and "lonesome," suggesting that being lonely makes him depressed. Notice how, once again, he tries to reach out to anyone around him, including the hat-check girl, as he earlier did with the cab drivers? But it’s a catch-22, because his depression ends up pushing people away. How … depressing.
Then, finally, I found it. What it was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen. But I didn't see any ducks around. I walked all around the whole damn lake—I damn near fell in once, in fact—but I didn't see a single duck. I thought maybe if there were any around, they might be asleep or something near the edge of the water, near the grass and all. That's how I nearly fell in. But I couldn't find any. (20.40)
Is Holden worried that the ducks have vanished—or is he just worried that he himself is going to vanish? We think there might be a little transference going on.