In the book
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There are a few ideas at play here. Holden seems to empathize with the ducks' living situation. Like Holden, they seem to live in an inhospitable environment. THe ducks may leave temporarily but return in the spring. For Holden, this means life doesn't end but merely is cyclical, life comes and life goes. Holden contemplates the possibility that his life isn't stuck and that perhaps his brother Allie's death was part of a greater natural scheme.