Quotes from The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger ·  277 pages

Rating: (2.3M votes)


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot. ”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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 do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It's nice.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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 in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“People are always ruining things for you.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late?”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“People always clap for the wrong reasons.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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's 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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“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.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phony. I could puke every time I hear it.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


“If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck you" signs in the world. It's impossible.”
― J.D. Salinger, quote from The Catcher in the Rye


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About the author

J.D. Salinger
Born place: in Manhattan, New York, The United States
Born date January 1, 1919
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