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What does this quote mean from "The Catcher in the Rye": "That's the...

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jazz-the-spaz... | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:20 AM via web

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What does this quote mean from "The Catcher in the Rye":


"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'F*** you' right under your nose." --"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:18 AM (Answer #1)

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The first quote has to do with Holden's desire to preserve the purity of childhood.  A grade school is a place that should be free of adult profanity.  It really offends him, he feels physically shaken when he sees these vulgar words written on the walls.

The museum also has a link to Holden's childhood and his sister, he loves the place because everything there stays the same. It is frozen in time, eternally set in place, reflecting a place and time in the past.   

The second quote is the last line of the novel.  Holden regrets having told the story to the reader, because now, as a patient in the mental institution, he misses his old life, even Stradlater and Ackley.  He misses everyone he talked about, so he warns the reader to not talk about memories, they only remind you of what you no longer have.

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