by J.D. Salinger
Teddy Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Section.Paragraph)
Teddy lingered for a moment at the door, reflectively experimenting with the door handle, turning it slowly left and right. "After I go out this door, I may only exist in the minds of all my acquaintances," he said. "I may be an orange peel." (2.34)
What can we make of Teddy's observation in light of his death at the end of the story? Who actually sees his death, and why does that matter? Think back to the hidden kōan Teddy introduced when contemplating the orange peels. If no one is present to witness an event, does that event really happen?
"What time is it?" Mrs. McArdle suddenly asked the backs of Teddy's legs. "Don't you and Booper have a swimming lesson at ten-thirty?" (2.11)
The impending swimming lesson is announced over and over again in "Teddy." Tension builds, at least on a second reading of Teddy, because we know what 10:30 really brings.
Then, with instantly one-pointed concentration, as if only he and the notebook existed – no sunshine, no fellow passengers, no ship – ,he began to turn the pages. (4.2)
Teddy has pursued this diary writing with single-mindedness since he spoke with Booper. Why is writing in the diary so important to him?