Holden-isms: On ‘F’ You!

Posted on: February 12, 2010

My jaw is already hurting from too much laughing. Not to mention that I have nasty feeling in my stomach that, in blunt terms, would be “I feel like I’ll be passing gas any minute.”

If you haven’t read my favorite book The Catcher in the Rye yet, I’ll tell you about this part, which even if read a thousand times, would still make me laugh like a maniac as if I’m reading it for the first time.

Holden was in his sister Phoebe’s school to pass her a note and on his way up to the principal’s office (to give them the note for his sister), he saw a vandal on the wall that says: F*ck You. Here’s how he reacted:

While I was walking up the stairs, though, all of a sudden I thought I was going to puke again. Only, I didn’t. I sat down for a second, and then I felt better. But while I was sitting down, I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody’d written “Fuck you” on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them–all cockeyed, naturally–what it meant, and how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it. I figured it was some perverty bum that’d sneaked in the school late at night to take a leak or something and then wrote it on the wall. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I’d smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody. But I knew, too, I wouldn’t have the guts to do it. I knew that. That made me even more depressed. I hardly even had the guts to rub it off the wall with my hand, if you want to know the truth. I was afraid some teacher would catch me rubbing it off and would think I’d written it. But I rubbed it out anyway, finally. Then I went on up to the principal’s office.

Then on his way out of the school, he saw the dreaded words written on another wall:

I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another “Fuck you” on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand again, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or
something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless, anyway. 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.

Then he saw it again in an unlikely place:

I was the only one left in the tomb then. I sort of liked it, in a way. It was so nice and peaceful. Then, all of a sudden, you’d never guess what I saw on the wall. Another “Fuck you.” It was written with a red crayon or something, right under the glass part of the wall, under the stones.
That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say “Holden Caulfield” on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say “Fuck you.” I’m positive, in fact.

HAHAHA! That really killed me. Holden, he really knows how to be sarcastically funny. I read this part over and over and over again in the book, especially when I’m feeling really frustrated at work. Works better than a laughing gas. =)

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