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Quotes

Quote #1

Being a cool, not to say an ice-cold, ten at the time, I took the big move, so far as I know, untraumatically. (2)

Jean is describing his reaction to being moved to Paris from New York at age ten. While he can handle, and even seems to relish, being a foreigner, he can't handle being a motherless foreigner in his homeland.

Quote #2

I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone--a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New York prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all everything I touched turned to solid loneliness. (4)

Part of why New York City is often associated with loneliness is because it is a major port of entry for people coming to America from other places, and port of exit for American's going elsewhere. Immigration often results in loneliness, especially if family and friends were left behind in the "old" land. Try connecting this idea with what is going on in 1939 in the world.

Quote #3

His expression--and my word for it came straight out of a French edition of Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu books--was inscrutable. (20)

By evoking Rohmer's racist tales, Salinger alludes to the extreme prejudice being leveled against Asians, especially the Japanese, during World War II. Because the narrator is writing from a point after the war, he can allude to things like the Japanese Internment Camps, that occurred after the 1939 setting of the main story.

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