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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.
Then I thought about the whole bunch of them sticking me in a goddam cemetery and all, with my name on this tombstone and all. Surrounded by dead guys. Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody. (20.41)
To Holden, can't be smoothed over with a lovely ceremony and a bunch of flowers. Flowers might smell nice, but the dead are still dead—and they’re sure not worrying about flowers.