1. "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know
is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and
all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth" (1).
2. “Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute” (2).
3. "Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then
it's a game, all right - I'll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren't any hot-shots, then
what's a game about it? Nothing. No game" (8).
4. “I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park
South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the duck go” (13).
5. 'I'm just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all,
don't they'" (15).
6. "I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot" (18).
7. “All I need’s and audience. I’m an exhibitionist” (29).
8. “So what I did, I wrote about my brother Allie’s baseball mitt” (38).
9. "When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to
the stairs and took a last look down the goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don't know why. I put my red hunting hat
on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, 'Sleep
tight, ya morons'" (52).
10. "Then I started reading this timetable I had in my pocket. Just to stop lying. Once I get started, I can go on for
hours if I feel like it. No kidding. Hours" (58).
11. “It isn’t
very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain” (58).
12. "'You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen
to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance'" (60).
13. "Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn't mind doing if the opportunity came up. I can even see
how it might be quite a lot of fun, in a crumby way, and if you were both sort of drunk and all, to get a girl and squirt
water or something all over each other's face. The thing is, though, I don't like the idea. It stinks, if you analyze
14. "He's so good he's almost corny, in fact. I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it. I certainly like
to hear him play, but sometimes you feel like turning his goddam piano over. I think it's because sometimes when he plays,
he sounds like the kind of guy that won't talk to you unless you're a big shot" (80).
15. "I hate fist fights. I don't mind getting hit so much - although I'm not crazy about it, naturally - but what scares
me most in a fist fight is the guy's face. I can't stand looking at the other guy's face, is my trouble. It wouldn't be so
bad if you could both be blindfolded or something. It's a funny kind of yellowness, when you come to think of it, but it's
yellowness, all right. I'm not kidding myself" (90)
16. "If you want to know the truth, I'm a virgin. I really am. I've had quite a few opportunities to lose my virginity
and all, but I've never got around to it yet" (92).
17. "She was a pretty spooky kid. Even with that little bitty voice she had, she could sort of scare you a little bit.
If she'd been a big old prostitute, with a lot of makeup on her face and all, she wouldn't have been half as spooky" (98).
18. "The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I'm not kidding" (104).
19. "'If a body catch a body coming through the rye'" (115)
20. “I love that
Damn Museum” (120).
21. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases
and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (122).
22. “It's full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to
buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you
do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques'" (131).
23. “ I went with
them a couple of times, but I cut it out. In the first place, I certainly don’t enjoy seeing him in that crazy place”
24. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands
of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What
I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look
where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher
in the rye and all" (173).
25. “ ‘The
mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live
humbly for one” (188).
26. "I kept walking and walking up Fifth
Avenue, without any tie on or anything. Then
all of a sudden, something very spooky started happening. Every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam
curb, I had this feeling that I'd never get to the other side of the street. I thought I'd just go down, down, down, and nobody'd
ever see me again" (197).
27. "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam
stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper
and shove it over to me. They'd get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I'd be through with having conversations
for the rest of my life" (198).
28. "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 'Fuck you' right under your nose"
29. "The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.
If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them" (211).
30. "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody" (214).