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Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will. (18.7)
Holden expresses a death wish – and perhaps his anger at how much his brother D.B. lost by fighting in the war.
I've lived in New York all my life, and I know Central Park like the back of my hand, because I used to roller-skate there all the time and ride my bike when I was a kid, but I had the most terrific trouble finding that lagoon that night. I knew right where it was – it was right near Central Park South and all – but I still couldn't find it. […] Then, finally, I found it. What it was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen. But I didn't see any ducks around. I walked all around the whole damn lake – I damn near fell in once, in fact – but I didn't see a single duck. I thought maybe if there were any around, they might be asleep or something near the edge of the water, near the grass and all. That's how I nearly fell in. But I couldn't find any. (20.40)
Holden is worried that the ducks have vanished – much like his concern, as we see later, that he himself will disappear.
Finally I sat down on this bench, where it wasn't so goddam dark. Boy, I was still shivering like a bastard, and the back of my hair, even though I had my hunting hat on, was sort of full of little hunks of ice. That worried me. I thought probably I'd get pneumonia and die. I started picturing millions of jerks coming to my funeral and all. My grandfather from Detroit, that keeps calling out the numbers of the streets when you ride on a goddam bus with him, and my aunts – I have about fifty aunts – and all my lousy cousins. What a mob'd be there. They all came when Allie died, the whole goddam stupid bunch of them. I have this one stupid aunt with halitosis that kept saying how peaceful he looked lying there, D.B. told me. I wasn't there. I was still in the hospital. I had to go to the hospital and all after I hurt my hand. (20.42)
Again, Holden makes himself important in his own death, fantasizing about all the people that would come to mourn him. At first, anyway, but the imagining quickly turns away from the typical "You'd be sorry if I died" self-centered thought. Instead, Holden brings the attention away from himself and towards Allie. In fact, he can't think vengefully about his own mortality because he's had such first-hand experience with death. He realizes the sad and bitter reality of a young person dying, a reality that, no matter how many times a person says is peaceful, is far from it. Compare the aunt's use of this word (peaceful) to Holden's confinement to a hospital bed after his own violent reaction to Allie's death.