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

The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 24 Quotes Page 1

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How we cite the quotes:
(Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 1

I didn't know what the hell to talk about while I was waiting for the elevator, and he kept standing there, so I said, "I'm gonna start reading some good books. I really am." I mean you had to say something. It was very embarrassing.

"You grab your bags and scoot right on back here again. I'll leave the door unlatched."

"Thanks a lot," I said. "G'by!" The elevator was finally there. I got in and went down. Boy, I was shaking like a madman. I was sweating, too. When something perverty like that happens, I start sweating like a bastard. That kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid. I can't stand it. (24.98-100)

As you have probably come to expect by now, there are few different ways to interpret this passage. If Holden has in fact been subject to such come-ons, we can sort of see why he wants to protect children's innocence so badly. If he hasn't (and therefore has read too much into instance after instance), then that is a hint that something isn't quite right with him.

Then something happened. I don't even like to talk about it. I woke up all of a sudden. I don't know what time it was or anything, but I woke up. I felt something on my head, some guy's hand. Boy, it really scared hell out of me. What it was, it was Mr. Antolini's hand. What he was doing was, he was sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of petting me or patting me on the goddam head. Boy, I'll bet I jumped about a thousand feet.

"What the hellya doing?" I said.

"Nothing! I'm simply sitting here, admiring – "

"What're ya doing, anyway?" I said over again. I didn't know what the hell to say—I mean I was embarrassed as hell.

"How 'bout keeping your voice down? I'm simply sitting here – "

"I have to go, anyway," I said—boy, was I nervous! I started putting on my damn pants in the dark. I could hardly get them on I was so damn nervous. I know more damn perverts, at schools and all, than anybody you ever met, and they're always being perverty when I'm around. (24.82-88)

There's way too much to say about this paragraph for us to cram it into a teeny-tiny thought here. Check out Mr. Antolini's "Character Analysis" for solid analytical indulgence.

Quote 3

I didn't know what the hell to talk about while I was waiting for the elevator, and he kept standing there, so I said, "I'm gonna start reading some good books. I really am." I mean you had to say something. It was very embarrassing.

"You grab your bags and scoot right on back here again. I'll leave the door unlatched."

"Thanks a lot," I said. "G'by!" The elevator was finally there. I got in and went down. Boy, I was shaking like a madman. I was sweating, too. When something perverty like that happens, I start sweating like a bastard. That kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid. I can't stand it. (24.98-100)

Look at how Holden acts even after he feels violated and nervous. He still makes conversation, still tries to somewhat smooth over the conversation. Despite everyone calling him "anti-social" all the time, he's a rather conscientious guy. On the other hand, it could be that he's just super embarrassed and talking to make himself feel better. Take your pick.

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