The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
When the weather's nice, my parents go out quite frequently and stick a bunch of flowers on old Allie's grave (20.42)
Holden doesn’t actually make the point, but he doesn’t have to: his parents only care about Allie as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. Visiting the grave when it’s raining? No way.
"You don't like a million things. You don't.
[…] Name one thing."
"I like Allie."
"Allie's dead – You always say that! If somebody's dead and everything, and in Heaven, then it isn't really–"
"I know he's dead! Don't you think I know that? I can still like him, though, can't I? Just because somebody's dead, you don't just stop liking them, for God's sake – especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that're alive and all." (22.22-38)
Again, we see that Holden glorifies his dead brother. We don't doubt that Allie was a great person, but Holden, in his dissatisfaction with the existing world, can idealize his brother, instill in him all the values he feels are missing from reality. This, of course, only drives him further into isolation and anger at the people around him.
There was this one boy at Elkton Hills, named James Castle, that wouldn't take back something he said about this very conceited boy, Phil Stabile. […] Stabile, with about six other dirty bastards, went down to James Castle's room and went in and locked the goddam door and tried to make him take back what he said, but he wouldn't do it. I won't even tell you what they did to him – it's too repulsive. […] Finally, what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window. I was in the shower and all, and even I could hear him land outside. […] There was old James Castle laying right on the stone steps and all. He was dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place. […] He had on this turtleneck sweater I'd lent him. (22.30)
Ouch. Talk about dying for an ignoble cause. Our question: is there a suggestion that Holden understands this attitude—that rather than give in and take back something he knows is true, the kid would kill himself? Isn’t this kind of what Holden is doing—refusing to live peacefully in a phony world?