Page 1. " all that David Copperfield kind of crap "

This reference to Charles Dickens' autobiographical novel (as opposed to the modern day illusionist) may be an immediate hint that our narrator is, in fact, setting us up for all that David Copperfield kind of crap, though in his own unique language.

The first chapter of David Copperfield, entitled I AM BORN, begins:

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night.


David Copperfield



Page 3. " she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place "

Falsies--extremely padded (even plastic!) bras that gave women's breasts that anti-gravity, rocket shape--were popular in the 1950s.  And they're back.  

Page 8. " He was reading the Atlantic Monthly "

The Atlantic Monthly (now The Atlantic) is a cultural and literary magazine founded in 1857, intended to showcase new writers and poets.  Salinger is telling us that Dr. Spencer is a cultured man, and perhaps once an aspiring writer himself.  The current version of the magazine focuses more on politics and policy.


Page 13. " I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park "

The Central Park Lagoon (or pond) is a key feature of the park, intended as a quiet, welcoming place for those entering from the southeast corner.  Holden returns to the problem of the ducks throughout the book.

Here's the lagoon in the summer (looking north).  No ducks in sight, however. 


Central Park Lagoon
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCentral Park Lagoon - Credit: David Shankbone

And looking south...  still no ducks.


Central Park Lagoon, looking south
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCentral Park Lagoon, looking south - Credit: Ahodges7
Page 16. " we all had to stand up in the grandstand and give him a locomotive "
Male Cheerleaders
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMale Cheerleaders - Credit: University of Florida Digital Collections

The first known cheer from the sidelines, heard at a Princeton University football game in the early 1880s.  Referred to as a locomotive because of its slowly building noise, the cheer is still used at Princeton:

Hip, hip! Rah, rah, rah! Tiger, tiger, tiger! Siss, siss, siss! Boom, boom, boom! Bah! Ah! Princeton! Princeton! Princeton!

According to Ask a Male Cheerleader (who knew?), the cheer was adapted from the marching chant of the Seventh Regiment of New York City, which obviously made an impression on the college boys as it passed through Princeton on its way to Washington, D.C. to fight in the American Civil War.

Page 18. " They gave me Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. "
by cm
Karen Blixen's House
Creative Commons AttributionKaren Blixen's House - Credit: Pablo Sanchez

Isak Dinesen was the pseudonym of Karen Blixen (1885-1962), a Danish baroness who owned a coffee farm in Kenya from 1914 to 1931.  She lost the farm in the Great Depression, and was forced to leave Kenya.  She returned home to Copenhagen and lived there for the rest of her life.  Out of Africa (1937) is her memoir of those years in Kenya, notable for being one of the first books by a white author to portray Africans as individuals rather than stereotypes. 


See the live view from Karen Blixen’s front porch in the Ngong Hills via this webcam.








Page 18. " My favorite author is my brother D.B., and my next favorite is Ring Lardner "

Ring Lardner (1885-1905), a sportswriter and satirist, was one of Salinger's favorite authors as well.  He wrote short stories for the Saturday Evening Post,  told in the first person, using baseball vernacular.  In 1916, some of these stories were collected in a book, You Know Me Al.  Although Lardner took his own work lightly (and did not even save copies), many people consider You Know Me Al to be a very fine comic novel.


Find out more at Lardnermania.

Page 25. " how 'bout lending me your hound's-tooth jacket? "
Houndstooth pattern
GNU Free Documentation LicenseHoundstooth pattern - Credit: Magnus Overengen

Houndstooth describes the jacket pattern (we don't know the color), a classic pattern for both men and women.