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The Catcher in the Rye Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from The Catcher in the Rye
  1. #1
    ″‘Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.‘”
    ‘Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.’
    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.”
  2. #2
    “This fall I think you’re riding for—it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.”
  3. #3
    “That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. They can drive you crazy. They really can.”
  4. #4
    “Lots of times you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking.”
  5. #5
    “It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.”
  6. #6
    “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.”
  7. #7
    “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.”
  8. #8
    “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.”
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  1. #9
    “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.”
  2. #10
    “I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it.”
  3. #11
    “I can be quite sarcastic when I’m in the mood.”
  4. #12
    “If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good any more.”
  5. #13
    “I was trying to feel some kind of good-bye. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t you feel even worse.”
  6. #14
    “And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.”
  7. #15
    “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
  8. #16
    “I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.”
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  1. #17
    “I am always saying ‘Glad to’ve met you’ to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.”
  2. #18
    “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
  3. #19
    “The thing is, it’s really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs.”
  4. #20
    “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.”
  5. #21
    “I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes....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.”
  6. #22
    “The guy I like best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones. I like him ten times as much as the disciples.”
  7. #23
    “I think that one of these days...you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.”
  8. #24
    “I’m just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all, don’t they?”
  9. #25
    “Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
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