The Catcher in the Rye
Isolation Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley, for instance. I think I even miss that goddam Maurice. It's funny. Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. (26.3)
Maurice is the elevator pimp, so we have to ask: is this uplifting. Does it mean that Holden made enough personal connections to miss the people he interacted with? Or does it just show us that Holden is as isolated now as he was when all of this began?
I saw one guy, a gray-haired, very distinguished-looking guy with only his shorts on, do something you wouldn't believe me if I told you. First he put his suitcase on the bed. Then he took out all these women's clothes, and put them on. Real women's clothes—silk stockings, high-heeled shoes, brassiere, and one of those corsets with the straps hanging down and all. Then he put on this very tight black evening dress. I swear to God. Then he started walking up and down the room, taking these very small steps, the way a woman does, and smoking a cigarette and looking at himself in the mirror. He was all alone, too. Unless somebody was in the bathroom—I couldn't see that much. (9.14)
Notice how this “pervert” is all alone? It’s almost like that’s the worst part for Holden—that you’d go to all this trouble to dress up like a woman without even an audience.
"Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry." (24.60-62)
Get out your highlighters, Shmoopers, because this is key: Mr. Antolini is telling Holden that education is important because it’ll make him feel less alone. It’s like an online support group for depressed people, but in actual books and literature. We love this.