The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield speaks on change and stability…or something like that…

The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole, with their pretty antlers and they’re pretty, skinny legs, and that squaw with the naked bosom would still be weaving that same blanket. Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. Not that you’d be so much older or anything. It wouldn’t be that, exactly. You’d just be different, that’s all. You’d have an overcoat this time. Or the kid that was your partner in line the last time had got scarlet fever and you’d have a new partner. Or you’d have a substitute taking the class, instead of Miss Aigletinger. Or you’d heard your mother and father having a terrific fight in the bathroom. Or you’d just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them. I mean you’d be different in some way—I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it.

From The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger



5 Comments on “The Catcher in the Rye”

  1. coolteenreads says:

    Reblogged this on itsateenagelibrarything and commented:
    Ok, I’m going to fess up here. I never read “Catcher in the Rye’ when I was a teenager. I read it in my early twenties and didn’t get it; I then re-read it in my thirties and still didn’t get what all the fuss was about. But having just read this small extract I’m sort of intrigued enough to have another go. I can just hear inside my head my two boys saying stuff like this when they were teenagers.

    So what do you think? Do you have to read this classic story when you are a teenager to understand what Holden is all about? Or do you have to have been through the whole experience of parenting/teaching/working with teenagers to begin to understand this book?
    I’d be intersted to hear what you think.

    • I definitely enjoyed it more the second time, a few years after high school, when I wasn’t being forced to read it. I hadn’t been through any parenting/teaching/working with teenagers, but I think it helps to have some distance and be able to look back on being a teenager. I also think teenagers might enjoy it more if they read if on their own (not in school) and could take what they wanted from it, without having to be over-analytical. That can definitely kill a book for a high-schooler.

      • coolteenreads says:

        Good point. Studying Jane Austen at school destroyed my enjoyment of her witty, observant writing and social commentary. But now I absolutely adore her books and love to re-read them regularly. I

  2. emilyardagh says:

    I was obsessed with this novel when I was a teenager — I read it over and over! I love how I can always come back to it and it’s just the same as I remember — it’s just me who’s a little bit older or a little bit different, but Holden is always the same. Like the museum!

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