Make your own free website on


ďLife is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." ††††††† Chapter 2, pg 8: Dr. Thurmer say to Holden. Dr. Thurmer says it but Holden doesnít agree him, he never believes that life is a game. I think, he believes the opposite because he is  deathly serious about life, and he doesnít accept the rules set before him by adults.

"All I need is an audience. I'm an exhibitionist" p.29 (while he's tap-dancing)- Holden tells this just to the reader.
- It means that he wants people to show him attention and find him
very interesting and amusing. Just like he is proud out his cool
hunting hat and shows it to everyone, he wants people to watch him
all the time. This is probably because he is such a loser that he
needs always an audience.

"I'd like to put some sense in that head of yours, boy. I'm trying to help
you, if I can." (Chapter 2, p.14)

Mr. Spencer is saying these words to Holden when they are talking about
Holden's future.
Holden is very well aware that Mr. Spencer earnestly wants to help him with
his life. However, his way of putting it angers Holden, and he feels he is
so distant to Mr. Spencer. Therefore, he doesn't take his advice seriously,
saying that they are "on the opposite poles".

'I'd never yell "Good luck!" at anybody. It sounds terrrible, when you
think about it.' (at the end of the chapter 2, p 13)

Holden says such a thing after he gets out of Mr.Spencer's room. Here,
Mr.Spencer is not saying 'Good luck!' in a positive way, he is just
trying to make him feel that Holden will definitely face with a lot of
troubles because of his mistakes and his luck must always help him to
get over them. Holden understands this and thinks that it's not a good
way of talking to him in a time that he needs help.


"How'd she happen to mention me? Does she go tho B.M. now? She said
she might go there. She said she might go to Shipley too. I thought
She went to Shipley. How'd she happen to mention me?" I was pretty
excited. I really was.

Holden is asking Stradlater about an old friend of his. He is very

excited because he has lack of friends and he just hears about one.
Her thoughts about him(Holden) and the way she mentions him makes him
excited. Also he wants to learn some news about his old friend.


"What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind
of good-by." (p.4)
-Holden says this while he was standing at the top of a hill, looking
down to all his class-mates who were in the futball match.
-Although he seems to hate his school and doesn't care about leaving
it, he tries to feel a good-by because he knows that he will never
see it again. This shows that Holden is actually a sensitive
character who cares about things but doesn't want to show it.
-Standing at the top of a hill, away from the crowd represents the
emotional distance between Holden and other students in the school.

"You were a goner anyway, but not as quick if you didn't look right away."
- said by Holden, to us -the readers-, about Ackley
- about Ackely's personality, and Holden's thoughts about it
- not so hero-like
- a pessimistic thought, already decided he was a "goner"

Ď Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.í Mr. Spencer agrees with the headmaster by saying Holden this sentence.Then Holden makes some judgements about it. He says:Ď If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then itís a game, all right Ė Iíll admit that. But if you get on the other side , where there arenít any hot-shots, then whatís a game about it? Nothing. No game.톆†††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† This is an example of Holdenism.Although  Holden nods in agreement with his teacher at first, then he objects it by his thoughts. This quotation shows us that according to his thought he is alone in one side and all the other people  are in the other side and aganist him. He feels lonesome. For example, in the book Holden tells that other people donít like Ackley, so he hasnít got many friends. However, we understand from this quotation that he feels the same things with Ackley , but he doesnít describe himself as an isolated person. He doesnít tell his weak sides very much. We can get his real characterictics just from his judgements. Therefore, there is a contrast between the truth and what he tells us.Because of he is not in the side where all the hot-shots in, he doesnít think that the life is a game. He thinks that it is not fair, so life is not a game.

" Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake," he said. " That's a deer shooting hat."

" Like hell it is." I took it off and looked at it.I sort of closed one eye, like i was taking aim at it." This a people shooting hat" I said. " I shoot people in this hat."

- Hol quotation, the shooting hat symbolizes that Holden wants to be individual and different from the others as he is wearing that kind of hat. He thinks he is not like the other people, so he wants to show himself with wearing different things and with his behaviour to the people. He wants from people to find him very different and interesting, because maybe he is humble and ordinary person that tries to react differently.



Chapter 2, pg:12den is talking with Ackley.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††- In this
(To Mr.Spencer, after reading his essay out loud)
I don't think I'll ever forgive him for reading that crap out loud.
I wouldn't've read it out loud to him if he'd written it-I really
wouldn't. In the first place, I'd only written that damn note so that
he wouldn't feel too bad about flunking me."
There were several reasons for me to take this one.
1- First of all, this remark shows us that Holden was offended by
what Mr.Spencer did. He isn't the kind of student that can proudly
say that he neither studided nor knew anything at all and he may even
be ashamed of his lack of knowledge.
2- We also see that he really cares about people's feelings and tries
not to break their heart by saying that he wouldn't do such a thing.
He even wrote a note so that Mr.Spancer wouldn't feel too bad.
Another example for this may be what he said to Ackley.
"I felt sort of sorry for him, in a way. I mean it isn't too nice,
naturally, if somebody tells you don't brush your teeth."
3- All the others were taken.


'do you have any particular QUALMS about leaving Pencey???'

 I chose this quote because,

I believe that there is some kind of irony wondering in it.

Since Holden's behaviours refers us to believe that he does care about leaving Pencey( he is upset, he says good- by to every1(

But he doesn't seem like he cares about it very much that might be the reason why his teacher asked him that question

I sent this quote late because



"Suspence is good for some bastards like Stradlater."(p.28)
-Holden said this to Stradlater.
-Holden said this when Stradlater wanted to him to write
Stradlater's essay, he did not give any answers. Holden thought that
answer is really good for Stradlater.


"I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot."
This is right after he told us that he got the wrong book from the
library, thought that it would suck, but it didn'T.



"If you sat around there long enough and heard all the phonies
applauding and all, you got to hate everybody in the world." (Ch.19

-Holden says this to the reader while he was sitting in the Wicker
Bar, waiting for Luce to come.
-This shows his bitterness towards the world.  He thinks that all the
people in the world are phony just because the people he sees in the
bar are acting phony.  The second part of the sentence shows us that
he hates everybody in the world by judging them according to the
stereotype that he created about all the adults being phony.  Seeing
the phony people in the bar is just an excuse for him to hate
-I chose this quotation because it show us how Holden is getting more
desperate and everything in his life is getting worse instead of
getting better.


chapter 16 p.117)
"The trouble with me is, I have to read that stuff by myself. If an
actor acts it out, I hardly listen. I keep worrying about whether
he's going to do something phony every minute."

- Holden tells this to the reader while he just got the tickets to
the show they were going to go with Jane and was just talking to us
about theatre in general.
- This quotation may first seem like it has to do just with the
plays, movies yet when you think about it more you realise that it
actually shows the way Holden approaches life. First of all he is the
audience all the time in his own life too; watching, judging,
commenting, criticising. He seems to be watching more than living
life. He is so stuck on the phony things and what goes around him
that he doesn't have a chance to live his life. Just like he worries
about the actor doing something phony, he worries that something bad,
corny, disappointing or phony will happen every minute in his own
life. And he worries so much that he isn't able to enjoy life, to see
the good, pleasant sides of it. This quotation shows probably what
Holden's main problem is. He has to stop worrying all the time, or
feeling sorry for people or what he has done, he should get in to
action and do something about them. He should start living and
enjoying his life otherwise he won't be able to survive any longer.


'"...My sex life stinks."
"Naturally it does, for God's sake."' (near the end of chapter 19,
before psychoanalyst thing)

The first sentence is said by Holden, and the second one is by Carl
Luce, while they were talking in the the.
The first sentence shows us a reason of why Holden is feeling is
exremely depressed and lonesome. He just thinks that he can just have
sex with people that he likes very much. As he didn't have sex with
any girl before, it shows that he was never be able to get in that
position (get that close) even with a girl he likes. Therefore, it
also means that he lacks the ability of creating relationships with
girls that he never ends them successfully (can't have sex with them).
The second sentence also tells us how the people that Holden feels
close to him thinks about him. In here, Carl is not surprised that
Holden is not able to be successful in an event, because he simply
thinks that Holden is a weak character. It just gives us an idea why
Holden feels that lonesome, because even the people he feels himself
close do not think good things about him - do not care him.


"Very funny," he said.  "Same old Caulfield.  When are you going to
grow up?"
Ch. 19    page 144

Carl Luce said this to Holden, at the very beginning of their
meeting, because Holden started the conversation with a meaningless
Luce knows him for a lot of time, since Holden's childhood.  He is a
reliable person, very intellectual, mature and knows about life.  If
he says something, it must be correct(in human relations).  He says
that Holden is still the same, although the years that has passed.
Although Holden tries to act like mature people and adults, he is
not. He may believe so or try to make us believe so, but he always
act like child and proves that he is still a child.(saying to
Stradlater" go wash your own moron face"... was a one proof.)

I don't like any shows very much, if you want to know the truth."
1. Holden is narrating as he says this. Holden has bought the
tickets for the show, he will be going to with Sally.
2. Even though he doesn't like going to plays, he will go to one to
spend time. During the show Holden tells us about how it was phony
and why it was bad, but there is a possibility that these are all
lies BECAUSE Holden is an unreliable narrator and is very bad at
making up lies to cover previous lies.


Chapter 13( pg. 89)

ďItís no fun to be yellow. Maybe Iím not all yellow. I donít know. I think maybe Iím just partly yellow and partly the type that doesnít give much of a damn if they lose their gloves. One of my troubles is, I never care too much when I lose something-- it used to drive my mother crazy when I was a kid. Some guys spend days looking for something they lost. I never seem to have anything that if I lost it Iíd care too much. Maybe thatís why Iím partly yellow.Ē

 Holden says this quotation to the reader. Itís again Holdenís contradictions and his strange behaviors. At the beginning, he says he is not sure whether yellow or not. He wants to act like a reckless person. He wants not to care about life and the other things that belong to this world. He wants to be different and individual. As he says that some guys spend days looking for something they lost , then he says he doesnít care too much about the things that he lose. After that he says it is because of his yellowness. He knows his reactions are not good, even sometimes harmful, but he never changes his mind and continues to react as a different and individual person. Generally, he wants to create his own world and live alone in his alone and abandoned place

Goddam Money it always ends up making you sadí

Ýt is obvious that this quote is an example of Holdenism. I believe that he is right at this point that Money often makes Holden sad. For example when he bought the record he was sad and also, when Maurice insisted on not giving 5 more bucks to the prostutude Money again made him sad [ Iím not writing Money in capital letters itís microsofts fault]

But thereís another thing, Money makes him sad because of himself. Beforehe said this , he always thought about the nuns how poor they were and all. But actually nuns donít even care about it theyíre a lot more happier this way but Holden makes this an obsession , exaggerates it and ultimatelygeneralizes .this situation can be seen in other cases ,too.

Just like the other cases Holdenís only enemy is himself


I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's
ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll
volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.

-Holden critisizes the movie while he is drunk.
-It may be a proof that he is really crazy because nobody
wants to be on top of a war, and I think it is one of the things
he "hated". On the other hand, maybe he wants to do things which
will not be replied. For example, in the beginning of the book he
said "he wanted to chop his head instead of punch it" because he did
not want anymore reply.


Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell. the last sentence of ch15)

Holden says this quote to the reader after he talked to nuns in the little sandwich bar. Holden asks to the nuns if they are collecting money for charity. Even the nuns tell him that they donít collect money for charity, Holden gives them 10 bucks as a contribution. Then he feels sorry that he gave them only 10 bucks, but even 10 bucks must be very valuable for him, because he has a little amount of money. He'd spent his money for unnecessary things. After he checks his wallet and sees that his money is almost finished , he becomes depressed. [There is a contradiction that I want to add here. He claimed that he is an atheist, but he gives the nuns money just for help ( maybe for the church)] . Also being blueís mean is being depressed, so that time he agaiýn feels depressed. Holden has a sense of equality, and seeing economical differences between people makes him blue. In addition, the suitcase case is parallel to that. He doesnít want his roommate has a cheap suitcase. It is not because of he is conceited. He just wants to have the same kind of things with his friend. I mean if he has a cheap suitcase, his roommate must have a cheap one or if he has an expensive one, his roommate must have an expensive suitcase. Otherwise it makes him sad and depressed. As another example, he feels sorry while he was eating bacon and eggs, because the nuns were just eating toast and coffee.

As a result of this, we understand that Holden is a sensitive person. Although he tries to behave like a nonchalant person, he cares every people -even he doesnít know them very much-.


Chapter 19, pg:149
Holden talking first to Carl Luce and then to the reader as the
"'Have just one more drink," I told him. 'Please, I'm lonesome as
hell.No kidding."

  He said he couldn't do it, though. He said he was late now, and
then he left.
  Old Luce. He was strictly a pain in the ass, but he certainly had a
good vocabulary. He had the largest vocabulary of any boy at Whooton
when I was there. They gave us a test."
It's a pretty lenghty one and I think it has some important parts in
it. He had admitted to Luce that he needed company, something we(at
least I) wouldn't expect from Holden. Then he did the same thing that
Stradlater had done to him in the descriptive essay case. He knew
that he needed Luce as company, and he was quite an entertaining guy
(or at least he used to be). However, after Holden fails to make him
stay, he tells us that Luce had a large vocabulary, as if it was the
only reason why he wanted him to stay. This may be an example of
unreliable narrator. Also he is doing things that he criticizes other
people on, to defend hiimself ; to hide his weakness even from the


"I told her I loved her and all. it was a lie, of course, but the thing is, i meant it when i said it."

Holden tells it to the readers. it shows us Holden's undetermined character in his subconscious, usually it gets surface even though he cannot realize it. he is between 'I should be honest to myself' and 'i have to mislead myself'. he says it is a lie that he loves Sally, then he refuses and tells us that he loves her. he feels himself like he has to love her. he has to not actually her but somebody because he needs somebody to be able to survive from his 'mercuric' situation. actually he feels like he has to hold somebody's hand to get out from this swamp which is adulthood to him. if we look at internal of him, we see he really doesn't love sally by heart; however, he refuses it and tries to act to himself, tries to feel as he likes her-because he has to, to himself- by mind. it also shows how Holden is confused and helpless. (his feelings change by moment)


"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. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway." (Chapter 16, p.122)
These words belong to Holden. He decides to go to the museum where they have Indians and Eskimo figures. At first, his intention is to find Phoebe in there. However, he later goes there anyway, although he knows that she wonít probably be there on Sunday. It seems like he is sort of obsessed with the museum.
The thing that he loves about the museum is that it stayed the sameno 
matter what happened. Every time you went there, everything would be 
the same, and you would be the only thing that has changed. He wishes he could keep certain things in his life same all the time, just like the Indian figures in the museum. He wants to be able to reach a certain level of stability in his life. This includes going to a school and not being kicked out now and then, not losing your brother whom you really love, etc. 
Thatís why he loves this museum: it is always the same way as it used to and nothing in there is unexpected.


"...what i have to do, i have to catch everybody(there are only childrenin the rye) if they start to go over the cliff..."


holden tells it to Phoebe about what he'd like to be even though Phoebe doesn't ask him. here we face a big example of symbolism. it's our second meeting with the title of the book. here we can have more chance to understand Holden's subconscious much more clearly. here the cliff is the symbol of the line between childhood and adulthood. if children fall off the cliff they fall into adulthood. that's what holden doesn2t want from the beginning. he always wants to remain child. however, he knows it's impossible too. mporeover, he realizes that sth changed at him and he's being an adult. he knows he cannot do sth for himself. he believes that children are innocent. he thinks if he cannot stay as a child, at least he keeps children to stay as children. he doesn't want them to change; he doesn't want them to get 'phony'. therefore, in his subconscious(now it's not anymore in his subconscious) he wants to be a catcher in the rye who catches children from falling off the cliff (actually from the childhood) 


ďDonít tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybodyĒChapter 26 The last sentence of the book.Holden says it to the reader in his cocnluison sentences.It shows that he is still shackled by the same problems he has dealt in the book.He still seems scared and alone.Also, his final words ďmissing everybodyĒ reveals that he is nat as bitter as and repressed as he was earlier in the book.

"Every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam
curb, I had this feeling that I'd never get to the other side of the
street.  I thought I'd just go down, down, down and nobody'd ever see
me again." (p.197 ch.25)

-Holden says this while he was walking from the Grand Central to east
where he was planning to have some breakfast in a cheap restaurant. 
-With this quotation we see the idea of disappearing in the book for
the second time.  In the beginning of the book, while Holden was
going to Mr. Spencer's house, he told us that he felt like he was
disappearing.  After leaving Pencey, Holden felt the freedom of being
away from all those phony people he knew at Pencey.  This is why he
felt like he was disappearing.  But in this quotation we see that
Holden doesn't want to disappear.  He wants to belong to a group
instead of falling down,down and down.
-I chose this quotation because the word "down" reminded me of the
cliff that Holden tells us in his catcher in the rye fantasy.  Since
the beginning of the book we see that Holden neither sees himself as
a child nor an adult.  According to him the ones who are playing in
the field of rye are children.  So he has fallen off the cliff but he
doesn't know whether he has landed in the adulthood side or not. 
Therefore he feels like he will just go down and down and never reach
to the other side of the street.


~The lamb chop was all right but charlene always breathes on me whenever she puts something down.She breathes all over the food and everything. She breathes on everything.

These are stated by P.B. when she was having a conversation with her mother trying to persuade her to believe that the meal was really lousy.

In my opinion Holden likes P.B. so much because she is a kid and she is naive and innocent also, phoebe is just like him.She takes her elder brother as an example.

*     LOUSY is a holden type of word.

*     The quote above is an Holdenism( in this phrase can be considered as†††††††† phoebism )

*     Also later in the book Phoebe takes her suitcase and tries to convince her brother to take her with him-whereever he was going.

*     Phoebe gives a lot of importance to her brother. While she is telling these things she is trying to get her motherís mind out of the cigarrette smell in the room.


' I have a feeling that you're riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall.' ( ch-24, p186) 

After Holden leaves his parents'  house, he goes to Mr. Antolini's house,  because Mr. Antolini is one of the best teachers that Holden ever had. Holden trusts him and also he has no place to go except Mr. Antolini's house. While Holden and Mr. Antolini are talking, Mr. Antolini says this quote to Holden. Mr. Antolini knows that what kind of situation Holden is in, so he tries to help Holden. Mr. Antolini thinks that Holden wants to isolate himself. It is right but in addition to this, Holden is afraid to become an adult- a phony adult- so he escapes from the people. Mr. Antolini tells Holden that he is riding for a terrible fall, but although Holden respects Mr. Antolini's thoughts, he can't follow his teacher's words because of his headache. Holden tells that he can't concentrate, but he knows that Mr. Antolini wants to catch him in the midst of a fall.


" That is the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that is nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you are 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."

( chapter 25, pg. 204)

   Holden gives some clues about his life and his rules in last chapters. In this quotation, Holden says that there is no peaceful and nice place in this world. When he was thinking that the tomb is peaceful, he saw another " Fuck you" in the wall. He gets angry to this and then he says everytime, somebody tries to make your life bad. Maybe he thinks behind the nice and good thinks, there is always a bad, harmful think which waits the best time to go out and makes the life worthless.

   Although he looks very negative and pessimistic with these words, he says he is positive in fact. He is a nonchalant person, but actually he can not hide his feelings and thoughts from the readers.



  "If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them."


   That is what Holden tells us about children. It is an Holdenism, one of the last Holdenisms of the book. (carausel scene)

      Why I chose this quote is, while I was searching for a quotation this one was looking so bright and significant, and I thought this is one of the closest encounters of Holden and recovering.

He found a solution for one of the most used images in the book (not the ducks, the catcher in the rye). He wants to protect his sister, Pheobe from falling, but at the same time, he knows he can't. He understands he can't possibly be the catcher in the rye and keep the children from falling, as nobody could have protected from falling. They have to try for themselves



"...Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing
everybody" (last chapter, last page, last 2 sentences)

-Holden says this to the reader after he finishes telling us his
story. He is probably in a kind of hospital and is trying to recover.
-At the end of his story, Holden realises that he missed Ackley,
Stradlater, and everybody else he talked about. These were all people
he used to hate, or at least find phony and now it's interesting that
Holden misses them. He probably told his story for a couple of times
and he claims that this caused him to miss them that much. It is true
in a way. When you talk too much about an old friend of yours, a
place you've been to, or a memory you start missing it without you
even noticing it. This really happens, and it happens subconsciously.
Yet, there might be another reason for Holden to miss those people.
It's probably because he liked or loved them in a way but never
wanted to accept that. Holden doesn't usually talk about people he
loves, except some "swell-looking" girls etc. He actually doesn't
have anything special to love. He seems to be afraid of loving,
liking, or trusting someone too much. He is scared that when he
relies on someone, that person will let him down or disappoint him by
leaving him one day just like Allie did. The point is that Holden
actually needs all those phony people in his life in order to
continue his daily life. All he wanted was to get rid of them all,
but when he finally does he realises that this was not what he
exactly wanted. He misses his somewhat phony life; the phony people
around him and even people who caused him trouble like Maurice. These
are elements, which turn Holden's world into a bearable, interesting,
and challenging place.


"All of a sudden I wanted her to cry till her eyes practically
dropped out.I almost hated her.  I think I hated her most because she
wouldn't be in that play any moreif she went away with me."
ch.25 p.207

Holden says this to us while she's with Phoebe in front of the
Museum, after he smacked her, when she was crying.
This quote shows us the psychological problem of Holden for the last
time and in a very strong way, because this time Holden hates Phoebe,
the only person he loves very much, and the only person for whom he
took a great risk.  He hates her for a little time like the other
ones.  Holden tells us that the he hated her because of her play.  If
this was true we would see that he was really mad, because normal
people don't "hate" people for such small things.  In my opinion, the
reason of his hatred is that he won't be able to go away with her,
because he doesn't want her to be like him.(he is being the catcher
in the rye)  In other words, he hates her because she catched him in
the rye.


'"I don't know - Listen. Didn't they say what time they'd -"
"The Doctor, ... It was excellent."
"Listen a second. Didn't they say what time they'd -"' (chapter 21,
just after Holden wakes Phoebe up)
This words were said by a conversation between Holden and his sister,
Phoebe, after Holden sneaked home to talk with his sister.
Just because Phoebe was so excited to see his brother in front of him
suddenly, she wanted to tell him what is going on in her life. While
she was talking, she didn't even listen Holden's responses and kept
talking. Holden could only get his answer to his question in his
third attempt.
This was one of the reasons why Holden was not satisfied with his
conversation with Phoebe. He had felt very lonely for some days and
he just needed someone to listen his problems or at least someone to
have a nice conversation with. However, Phoebe was so excited
(because she likes Holden very much), so she didn't even listen him,
and it just made things worse.



Chapter 22 Ė page 169

 ďBecause you donít. You donít like any schools. You donít like a million things. You donít.

 Phoebe says these words to Holden when he is in her (actually D.B.ís) room, chatting and sort of arguing with her. Afterwards, Phoebe wants to hear something that Holden really likes but fails to get a reply.

 Phoebe is criticizing Holdenís view of life. He constantly focuses on the negative aspects of everything and everyone. He is always judgmental about almost everything. As a result, he canít manage to enjoy lots of things in his life. This also pushes him to a condition where he canít be stable at all because he cannot hold onto anything for a long time. Phoebe, being one of the closest people to Holden, is very well aware of it and expresses it honestly. She implies that instead of grumbling and protesting everything, Holden should get a grip and change the way he sees the world. That would make the world a much more desirable place to live for Holden.


I chose this quote because Phoebe briefly states why Holden fails again and again. To hear this from a person like Phoebe is especially significant because she is really close to Holden and knows him quite well.


" 'I thought if you were taking up a collection' I said, 'I could make a small contribution. You could keep the money for when you do take up a collection'"

 Holden tells the nuns this while they were having a conversation at the breakfast table.I believe Holden is -subconsciously- trying to buy people's friendships and loves. He always offers people cocktails. He buys Sally tickets to the show. I think that's because he's not secure with himself. Because he doesn't think people

will like himself for what he is -  and he doesn't have any evidence to prove that's not true- he behaves very generously. The relationship of this thought with this quotation is, people keep refusing him before the nuns. When the nuns behave friendly to him, without expecting anything, he feels like he owes them something so he contributes ten bucks to them, even after hearing they aren't taking up a collection