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Catcher in the Rye Quotes for Existing in Society

These Catcher in the Rye quotes capture the pessimism of the character Holden Caufield’s view of life as he moves through a transformative age of adolescence.

What can we learn from Holden Caufield’s pessimism?

The Catcher in the Rye is written by JD Salinger and is one of the most iconic pieces of literature of its time.

While it was intended to be read by adults, it is usually enjoyed by teenagers because the book houses so many themes of angst, loneliness, and coming of age.

Holden Caufield tends to have a pretty bleak outlook on life and society, so what can we learn from his pessimism?

Pessimism is a common characteristic of people Holden’s age, and he uses it as a way to point out society’s superficial views on most things, from movies to money.

Really, from the Catcher in the Rye quotes below, we can learn to be more conscious of our existence.

Also check out our list of Frankenstein quotes about the trueness of humanity.

Catcher in the Rye Quotes on Observing Others

1. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

2. “…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.” The Catcher in the Rye

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3. “I am always saying ‘Glad to’ve met you’ to somebody I’m not all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.” – The Catcher in the Rye

4. “It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.” – The Catcher in the Rye

5. “People are always ruining things for you.” – The Catcher in the Rye

6. “All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” – The Catcher in the Rye

7. “People never notice anything.” – The Catcher in the Rye

8. “I hate actors. They never act like people. They just think they do.” – The Catcher in the Rye

9. “People always clap for the wrong reasons.” – The Catcher in the Rye

10. “Almost every time someone gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.” – The Catcher in the Rye

11. “It’s partly true, too, but it isn’t all true. People always think something’s all true.” – The Catcher in the Rye

12. “I don’t give a damn, except that I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age. Sometimes I act a lot older than I am—I really do—but people never notice it.” – The Catcher in the Rye

13. “Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” – The Catcher in the Rye

14. “If you sat around there long enough and heard all the phonies applauding and all, you got to hate everybody in the world, I swear you did.” – The Catcher in the Rye

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15. “You can’t stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it.” – The Catcher in the Rye

Also check out these insightful V for Vendetta quotes about society and humanity.

Catcher in the Rye Quotes About Existence

16. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

17. “I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.” – The Catcher in the Rye

18. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

19. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

20. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

21. “The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I’m not kidding.” – The Catcher in the Rye

22. “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.” – The Catcher in the Rye

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23. “Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.” – The Catcher in the Rye

24. “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rule.” – The Catcher in the Rye

25. “It’s not too bad when the sun’s out, but the sun only comes out when it feels like coming out.” – The Catcher in the Rye

How can we learn to look at society differently through these Catcher in the Rye quotes?

The Catcher in the Rye is an iconic piece of literature highlighting the struggles of adolescence through the story of Holden Caufield.

People often look to Catcher in the Rye quotes to encapsulate this idea Holden has of the superficiality of society.

Written by JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye is known for exposing the flaws of society through the perspective of a young man.

Holden Caufield’s character is one who observes society to an extreme degree.

He’s incredibly conscious of how other people act, and by looking through his eyes, we can understand a lot about the unconsciousness of society.

Through that, though, we can change our own actions, and become more conscious of how we, as people in society, move through life.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Catcher in the Rye quotes and lines?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Halle Homel
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