Page 101. " 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. "

 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. Mark 5:3-5

The lunatic is Legion, so-called because he is possessed by a legion of demons, who force him to live apart and injure himself.  Jesus calls the demons out, and they possess instead a herd of 2,000 pigs who promptly drown themselves.  Quite a few innocent pig farmers were ruined by divine intervention that day. 

There is a parallel to Holden's own demons and disconnection.


Page 108. " some other guy, some West Point cadet "

West Point Cadets
Creative Commons AttributionWest Point Cadets - Credit: US Army
 West Point is one of the premier U.S. military service academies, located about 50 miles north of New York City.  

See panoramic views of West Point and the surrounding area.

Cadets have fun too:

Page 109. " So what I did, I told the driver to take me to Grand Central Station "

New York City's much tonier rail hub, transformed in a recent restoration into an upscale dining and shopping center.  In Holden's time it hadn't yet begun its decline.

Grand Central Station
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGrand Central Station - Credit: David Iliff
Page 110. " so that old Slagle wouldn't get a goddam inferiority complex about it "

 Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Freud, developed the theory of the inferiority complex, relating to poor self-esteem and its effects on human health.


Page 111. " straw baskets that you see nuns and Salvation Army babes collecting dough with "

Salvation Army collector
Creative Commons AttributionSalvation Army collector - Credit: Philip Milne
 The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian organisation, focused on preaching the gospel and performing acts of charity.  Formed in England in 1865, it has a quasi-military structure.

Listen on Spotify: Onward Christian Soldiers performed by the Salvation Army.

During the Christmas period they collect money on the street (dressed in uniform) by standing outside stores and ringing a bell.


Page 117. " There was this record I wanted to get for Phoebe, called 'Little Shirley Beans' "

This isn't a real record, although the singer Estelle Fletcher was real.  Holden says she sings it "very Dixieland and whorehouse."  Dixieland is a form of jazz incorporating blues, ragtime and brass band marches.

Listen on Spotify:

Basin Street Blues

When the Saints go Marching in

Tiger Rag


Page 118. " If a body catch a body coming through the rye "

This is the first time Holden misquotes the song, based on a poem by Robert Burns:

Gin a body meet a body

  Comin thro' the rye,

Gin a body kiss a body,

  Need a body cry?

The full poem 

Page 119. " I went over and bought two orchestra seats for I Know My Love "

This was an actual show, staged on Broadway in 1949-50, starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne (who were married).  

New York Herald Tribune New Service article from October 29th 1949, featuring an interview with the Lunts. 

Page 119. " You take Sir Laurence Olivier, for example. I saw him in Hamlet "



Page 120. " I saw one kid about her age, though, sitting on a bench all by herself, tightening her skate. "

Roller skates at that time were metal brackets worn over your shoes.  They needed to be tightened around the shoe with a skate key.


Page 122. " I remember you had to go through the Indian Room to get to the auditorium "
Children Viewing Indian Canoe
Public DomainChildren Viewing Indian Canoe - Credit: American Museum of Natural History

Holden describes the Great Canoe in the Indian room, which had 17 life-size figures of Native Americans, including a "witch doctor" at the rear of the canoe.  

The canoe has since been refurbished, and hangs in the 77th Street lobby.  The figures have been moved to storage.

Page 123. " We all used to sneak a good look at it, even the girls, because they were only little kids and they didn't have any more bosom than we did. "

And here they are, sneaking a look...

Children Viewing Diorama
Public DomainChildren Viewing Diorama - Credit: American Museum of Natural History