The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye
overview
Themes
Main Characters
Set in the 1940s, the coming-of-age story deals with confusion, loneliness, alienation, depression, and sexuality—all seen through the eyes of a cynical teenager. Holden Caulfield is an iconic character who represents the transition between childhood and adulthood as he struggles to make sense of the world.
Sex
Holden's conflicting views of sex and his treatment of women leave him feeling alienated and alone.
Alienation and Identity
Holden's loneliness parallels the alienation many teenagers face Ias they search for identity and belonging.
Childhood
Holden considers adults flawed and fake, but young children as pure and innocent.
Phoniness
Holden uses the term to describe the hypocritical nature of adults.
Phoebe Caulfield
Holden's little sister; the only person he trusts
Allie Caulfield
Holden's little brother; died of leukemia
Sally Hayes
Attractive girl; dates Holden off and on
Holden Caulfield
16-year-old narrator; distrusts the adult world
Mr. Antolini
Holden's teacher; warmly offers to help Holden
Jane Gallagher
Holden's neighbor; becomes jealous over her
Symbols
Numbering
Red Hunting Hat
Holden's cap symbolizes his alienation.
Museum of Natural History
The unchanging displays represent the world Holden wishes for.
Ducks
Holden's obsession with where ducks in Central Park go in the winter symbolizes his anxiety about impermanence.
"The catcher in the rye"
The phrase sums up Holden's desire to protect innocence.
1941
First time the character Holden Caulfield appears in one of Salinger's stories, 10 years before The Catcher in the Rye is released
65M
Estimated number of copies sold worldwide
0
Number of other novels Salinger published
Author
J.D. SALINGER 1919-2010
J.D. Salinger wrote short stories before serving in World War II. Salinger spent the next decade writing his only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, which was an instant success despite its controversy. Uncomfortable with media attention brought on by the book's success, Salinger became a recluse.
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