J.D. Salinger Quotes (158 Quotes)




    Her joke of a name aside, her general unprettiness aside, she was, in terms of permanently memorable, immoderately perceptive, small-area faces, a stunning and final girl.


    He stuck around till around dinnertime, talking about all the guys at Pencey that he hated their guts, and squeezing this big pimple on his chin. He didn't even use a handkerchief. I don't even think the bastard had a handkerchief, if you want to know the truth. I never saw him use one, anyway.


    I thought the two ugly ones were sisters, but they got very insulted when I asked them. You could tell neither one of them wanted to look like the other one, and you couldn't blame them, but it was very amusing anyway.



    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.




    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.

    He was one of those guys that think they're being a pansy if they don't break around forty of your fingers when they shake hands with you. God I hate that stuff.


    It didn't exactly depress me to think about it, but it didn't make me feel gay as hell either. Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but its too bad anyways.



    I submit that Zooey's face was close to being a wholly beautiful face. As such, it was of course vulnerable to the same variety of glibly undaunted and usually specious evaluations that any legitimate art object is. I think it just remains to be said that any one of a hundred everyday menaces - a car accident, a head cold, a lie before breakfast - could have disfigured or coarsened his bounteous good looks in a day or a second.

    The color of his pallor, however, was a curiously basic white - unmixed, that is, with the greens and yellows of guilt or abject contrition. It was very like the standard bloodlessness in the face of a small boy who loves animals to distraction, all animals, and who has just seen his favourite, bunny-loving sister's expression as she opened the box containing his birthday present to her - a freshly caught young cobra, with a red ribbon tied in an awkward bow around its neck.

    I mean it's very hard to meditate and live a spiritual life in America. People think you're a freak if you try to.



    I took a look out the window before I left the room, though, to see how all the perverts were doing, but they all had their shades down. They were the heighth of modesty in the morning.

    It ends up with everybody at this long dinner table laughing their asses off because the great Dane comes in with a bunch of puppies. Everybody thought it was a male , I suppose, or some goddam thing. All I can say is, don't see it if you don't want to puke all over yourself.


    The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they'll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don't like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they'll say he's conceited. Even smart girls do it.


    I'm just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else's. I'm sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It's disgusting.

    The rest, with very little exaggeration, was books. Meant-to-be-picked-up books. Permanently-left-behind books. Uncertain-what-to-do-with books. But books, books. Tall cases lined three walls of the room, filled to and beyond capacity. The overflow had been piled in stacks on the floor. There was little space left for walking, and none whatever for pacing.

    I mean they don't seem able to love us just the way we are. They don't seem able to love us unless they can keep changing us a little bit. They love their reasons for loving us almost as much as they love us, and most of the time more.

    Boy, did he depress me! I don't mean he was a bad guy- he wasn't. But you don't have to be bad guy to depress somebody- you can be a good guy and do it.





    Then I'd throw my automatic down the elevator shaft-after I'd wiped off all the fingerprints and all. Then I'd crawl back up to my room and call up Jane and have her come over and bandage up my guts. I pictured her holding a cigarette for me to smoke while I was bleeding and all. The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I'm not kidding.

    Anyway, I started bitching one night before the broadcast. Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady.


    The room was not impressively large, even by Manhattan apartment-house standards, but its accumulated furnishings might have lent a snug appearance to a banquet hall in Valhalla.

    I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone-a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New York prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.

    But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they're brilliant and creative to begin with-which, unfortunately, is rarely the case-tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them than men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end.


    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.

    It's nice when somebody tells you about their uncle. Especially when they start out telling you about their father's farm and then all of a sudden get more interested in their uncle.


    Then the carousel started, and I watched her go round and round...All the kids tried to grap for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she's fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say or do anything. 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 is bad to say anything to them.

    Did you know, God damn it, that Les was all for bringing a tangerine in to you last night before he went to bed? My God. Even Bessie can't stand stories with tangerines in them. And God knows I can't. If you're going to go on with this breakdown business, I wish to hell you'd go back to college to have it. Where you're not the baby of the family. And where, God knows, nobody'll have any urges to bring you any tangerines. And where you don't keep your goddam tap shoes in the closet.

    If you can't, or won't, think of Seymour, then you go right ahead and call in some ignorant psychoanalyst. You just do that. You just call in some analyst who's experienced in adjusting people to the joys of television, and Life magazine every Wednesday, and European travel, and the H-bomb, and Presidential elections, and the front page of the Times, and God knows what else that's gloriously normal.



    More J.D. Salinger Quotations (Based on Topics)


    People - World - God - Time - Movies - Faces - Place - Books - War & Peace - Life - Thought & Thinking - Joy & Excitement - Man - Family - Mind - Happiness - Listening - Cars - Money & Wealth - View All J.D. Salinger Quotations

    More J.D. Salinger Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Franny and Zooey
    - Nine Stories
    - The Catcher in the Rye

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