1. Back then, if you didn’t use your prostitute and then tried to underpay her, she would call you a “crumb-bum.”
2. It really does have passages like: “”Most guys at Pencey just talked about having sexual intercourse with girls all the time — like Ackley, for instance — but old Stradlater really did it. I was personally acquainted with at least two girls he gave the time to. That’s the truth.” And the “crumby,” squirting water passage on p.70 sounds really bad but in fact ties into what the novel is really about, which I say is impotence and also post-traumatic stress disorder. Read p.156 with this in mind.
2. Here is the original Robert Burns poem connected to the book’s title, mostly about sex, unlike its use in the novel, which I take to mean saving young men from the grim reaper (p.191) in a manner reminiscent of a Winslow Homer painting. So the book is saying America is not yet ready to fuck, not really, not in 1951, Fed-Treasury Accord or not. And in the final section of the book “fuck you” is the phrase which Holden is determined to wipe out.
3. Salinger took part in the D-Day invasion with part of the manuscript in his backpack. Salinger also fought in some of the toughest battles of WWII and later in his life sought extreme withdrawal. Here is more about Salinger at war. It all supports the notion of WWII as the major event in his life and one which he never got over. It is no accident that the deceased younger brother is named Allie.
4. Back then, they still called it Atlantic Monthly. pp.134-135 reflect the earlier fascination with dioramas in museums.
5. There is a corniness to how people thought and spoke back then which the book captures remarkably well.
I expected not to like the re-read, but overall I thought it was pretty damn good and almost universally misunderstood.
Next up: John Knowles’s A Separate Peace. and maybe also Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy.