The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield Quotes
I ordered a Scotch and soda, and told him not to mix it—I said it fast as hell, because if you hem and haw, they think you're under twenty-one and won't sell you any intoxicating liquor. I had trouble with him anyway, though. "I'm sorry, sir," he said, "but do you have some verification of your age? Your driver's license, perhaps?" I gave him this very cold stare, like he'd insulted the hell out of me, and asked him, "Do I look like I'm under twenty-one?"
"I'm sorry, sir, but we have our—"
"Okay, okay," I say. I figured the hell with it. "Bring me a Coke." He started to go away, but I called him back. "Can'tcha stick a little rum in it or something?" I asked him. I asked him very nicely and all. "I can't sit in a corny place like this cold sober. Can'tcha stick a little rum in it or something?"
"I'm very sorry, sir…" he said, and beat it on me. I didn't hold it against him, though. They lose their jobs if they get caught selling to a minor. I'm a goddam minor. (10.6-10)
Holden doesn’t mind being young—right up until it prevents him from getting a drink. That’s the thing about growing up: you lose something things (like innocence) but you gain others—like the privilege of hangover. Hm. Doesn’t sound so appealing, when you put it like that.
"If you didn't go to New York, where'd ya go with her?" I asked him, after a little while. I could hardly keep my voice from shaking all over the place. Boy, was I getting nervous. I just had a feeling something had gone funny.
Stradlater kept taking these shadow punches down at my shoulder. He had his toothbrush in his hand, and he put it in his mouth. "What'd you do?" I said. "Give her the time in Ed Banky's goddam car?" My voice was shaking something awful.
This next part I don't remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddam throat open. (6.26-35)
Holden is so angered by the thought of Stradlater and Jane because she's the only girl, as far as we can tell, that he has genuine feelings for. Since he can't reconcile respect for a girl with lusting after her, anything sex-related means she's being disrespected. Then again, it's Stradlater, so what are the odds that there is any respect in the first place.
The blonde was some dancer. She was one of the best dancers I ever danced with. I'm not kidding, some of these very stupid girls can really knock you out on a dance floor. You take a really smart girl, and half the time she's trying to lead you around the dance floor, or else she's such a lousy dancer, the best thing to do is stay at the table and just get drunk with her.
"You really can dance," I told the blonde one. "You oughta be a pro. I mean it. I danced with a pro once, and you're twice as good as she was. Did you ever hear of Marco and Miranda?"
"What?" she said. She wasn't even listening to me. She was looking all around the place. (10.13-15)
Hm. Holden is hardly sexually or socially inept here. He's bold enough to ask the girl to dance in the first place, and then adept enough to make decent conversation. Again, we’re pretty sure he could get lucky if he really wanted to.