The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Innocence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway. (16.25)
The question here is, which things should stay the way they are? Dioramas at the museum? Sure, as long as we don’t learn new information that makes them outdated. Kids? Well, it starts to get a little creepy when you decide to put them in glass cases, is all we’re saying. A little Snow-White-and-the-Seven-Dwarves.
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.)
Lawyers are all right, I guess – but it doesn't appeal to me," I said. "I mean they're all right if they go around saving innocent guys' lives all the time, and like that, but you don't do that kind of stuff if you're a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. And besides. Even if you did go around saving guys' lives and all, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys' lives, or because you did it because what you really wanted to do was be a terrific lawyer, with everybody slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the goddam trial was over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the dirty movies? How would you know you weren't being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn't. (20.46)
Oh, yeah, all the lawyers who go around saving innocent guys’ lives all the time—as though there really are that many innocent guys to save, even if they wanted it. Thinking that there are enough innocent people to save is just part of Holden’s own innocence.