The Catcher in the Rye 

by J.D Salinger

J.D Salinger

  • Born on January 1, 1919, in New York
  • Jerome David Salinger
  •  Author of Jewish decent
  • One older sibling
  • Dropped out of McBurney School
  •  Shipped off to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania
  • Five months sojourn in Vienna
  • enrolled in Columbia University
  • Military service during the years 1942-´44
  • Pursued literary career
  • Eventually developed an animosity for his stardom
  • exclusive lifestyle
  • Died on January 27, 2010 in Cornish

Other Works

  • "Nine Stories"
  • "Franny & Zoey"
  • "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: an Introduction"
  • "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"
  • "Hapworth"
Surrounding the Caulfield family:
  • "This Sandwich has no Mayonnaise"
  • "I´m Crazy"
  • "Last Day of the Last Furlough"
  • "The Stranger"

The book

  • Genre: Coming - of - age- novel (atypical)
  • Publishing date: July 16, 1951 
  • Publishing house: by Little, Bown and Company
  • page count: 277
  • translated into most major world languages
  • has never reached #1 on best - seller list
  • total sales < 65 million copies
  • evolved out of a myriad of short stories
  • most censored book between the years 1961 - 1982
  • remains global best - seller & part of the most frequently challenged literary works
  • considered inadmissible for a film adaptation by Salinger


  • yielded mixed reviews
  • critics admonished the "coarse language"
  • others condemned the "sly perversion" of the piece & deemed it "inconclusive"
  • established success is attributable to two factors: writing style & familiarity

included in:

  • 100 best English - language novels of the 20th century
  • The Big Read
  • 100 best English - language novels written since 1923


  • reproduction of occurrences experienced by a teenage boy, who embarks on a journey through 1950´s NY in psychiatric care, around Christmas time.

The characters

Main characters:

  • Holden Caulfield
  • Phoebe Caulfield

  • Allie Caulfield
  • D.B. Caulfield
  • Jane Gallagher
  • Sally Hayes
  • Mr. Antolini
  • Mr. Spencer
  • Stradlater
  • Ackley
  • The Two Nuns
  • Carl Luce
  • Maurice
  • Sunny

literary devices

  • subjective narration
  • frequent utilization of passive voice
  • mundane activities, often times engender protracted report about complete experiences
  • accurate reflection of teenage colloquialism
  • use of 1940s New York vernacular

Frequently used terms & phrases

  • frequently used words and phrases include:
  • "Old" - term of familiarity or endearment.
  • "Phony" – superficially acting a certain way only to change what others think of you
  • "That killed me" – I found that hilarious or astonishing
  • "Flit" – homosexual
  • "Crumbum" or "crumby"– inadequate, insufficient, disappointing
  • "Snowing" – sweet-talking
  • "I got a bang out of that" – I found it hilarious or exciting
  • "Shoot the bull" – have a conversation containing false elements
  • "Give her the time" – sexual intercourse
  • "Chew the fat" or "chew the rag" – small-talk
  • "Rubbering" or "rubbernecks" - idle onlooking/onlookers
  • "The Can" - the bathroom


  • Innocence
  • Mortality
  • Youth
  • Alienation
  • Relationships, Intimacy & Sexuality
  • Anguish
  • Lies & Deceit
  • Wisdom & Knowledge
  • Madness
  • Religion
  • Familial Neglect

Symbols & Motifs

  • red hunting hat - purity, innocence & authenticity
  • Shirley Beans Record - Lost innocence
  • The ducks in the Central Park Lagoon - jovial curiosity, cyclical nature of life, transition
  • Pencey Prep & Elkton Hills - hypocrisy, deception & gruesomeness
  • Allie´s Baseball glove - authenticity 
  • The catcher in the rye - preservation of innocence 
  • Museum of natural history - infinity


  • Solitude
  • Confusion


  • ". . . I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all."

  •  "Sometimes I

    act a lot older than I am--I really do--but people never notice it. People never notice


Impact on Pop Culture

List of assassins inspired by Salinger´s work:
  1. Robert John Bardo
  2. John Hinckley, Jr.
  3. Mark David Chapman
  • engendered numerous rewrites & sequels
  • dissemination of slang verb "screw up"
  • Holden Caulfield has become the apotheosis of adolescent angst
  • various adaptations in music, film, literature have been created


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Public - 5/30/16, 3:06 PM