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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

Madness Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy. I mean, that's all I told D.B. about, and he's my brother and all. He's in Hollywood. That isn't too far from this crumby place. (1.1)

Since Holden (or Salinger, depending on how you want to look at it) isn't entirely forthcoming, we have to look carefully at these hints about where Holden is now (when he's seventeen) telling us the story about where he was then (when he was sixteen, around Christmas). We guess that he's in California "resting up." Wonder exactly what kind of break-down/episode happened?

Quote #2

I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. I'm quite a heavy smoker, for one thing—that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half inches last year. That's also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. I'm pretty healthy though. (1.10)

Check out those words "they" and "here." It's ambiguous, but we have an idea that "they" are some sort of professionals taking care of Holden, and "here" is some sort of institution or place that gives "checkups and stuff." Again, more hints that something went wrong with Holden. Clever, clever.

Quote #3

I was only thirteen, and they were going to have my psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn't do it. It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it, and you didn't know Allie. (5.7)

On the one hand, yes: breaking all the windows in the garage sounds fairly unstable. On the other hand—his little brother just died, so maybe give the guy a break?

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