2About the AuthorJ.D. Sallinger wrote many short stories in secondary school, one of which was published in just before Sallinger joined the armyIn 1948, he published the critically acclaimed short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”Catcher in the Rye in 1951, becoming an instant success and a pop-culture phenomenomUnaccustomed the fame that he received from Catcher in the Rye , Sallinger lived the rest of his life in solitude until his death in January of 2010.
3Plot Summary Holden visits Mr. Spencer Holden gets on a train to New YorkHolden goes to the Lavender room and hires SunnyHolden goes on a date with SallyHolden visits with Carl LuceHolden sneaks into his house to see Phoebe,He visits Mr. Antinolli, but then leavesHolden goes with Phoebe to the zoo, decides to stay in New York
5Holden Caulfield Narrator of the Story Is expelled from the Pencey Preparatory School at the start of the story and is a 16 year old Junior.Has a sister Phoebe, a older brother who he only refers to as D.B., and a deceased brother Allie, who had leukemiaPurposely distances himself from both other individuals and society as a whole.Holden can be classified as an antihero.An antihero is a protagonist that defies the characteristics of the archetypal hero
6Holden Caulfield“The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.”- Quote off of the original book jacket. (Possibly from Salinger himself)This quote is saying that Holden as a character is so complex, but the same time simple. He finds such pleasure in simple things that he cannot comprehend the complex issues of life.
7Phoebe Caulfield Holden’s inteligent and mature little sister Lives in New YorkShe is often referred to by Holden, but not met until later in the story.Views Holden as a hero, yet is unaware that Holden holds very nearly the same view of her.She understands Holden more than most people do.
8Allie Caulfield Holden’s deceased little brother He died at age 11 Holden speaks of Allie in an reverent way, describing him as the nicest, the funniest, the brightest, etc.Holden reveres him because Allie was uncorrupted. He died before he was exposed to the world, so in Holden’s mind he lives on eternally in a state of youthful bliss
9Mr. Antinolli One of Holden’s English teachers from a previous school. Heavy drinkerIs receptive to Holden, even allowing Holden over to his apartment at a very late hour.Advises Holden that he is in a freefall, and that Holden must stop this.He is one of the only characters that Holden accepts advice from.While Holden is sleeping, he pats him on the head, and Holden views this as a sexual advance.
10Sally Hayes Holden calls Sally and asks to meet her in New York. Holden admits that she is pretty, but he does not like her because he views her as shallow.Sally has a history with Holden, as he references a time before the story when she asked him to help decorate her Christmas tree
11Jane GallagherWent on a date with Stradlater at the beginning of the story.Has known Holden for a while, and they were close friends when their families spent a summer together in MaineShe is one of the few characters in the story that Holden respects, along with Phoebe and Mr. Antinolli. Holden finds her attractive and readers may infer that he is in love with her.
12“D.B.” Caulfield Holden’s older brother Praised by Holden originally for his writing talents, but Holden calls him a prostitute since he uses his talent to make money in Hollywood
13Robert AckleyAckley is a senior at Pencey, and his room adjoins the room Holden and Stradlater share.He is very insecure and has poor hygiene.Often wanders into Holden’s room, showing disregard for Holden’s obvious hinting for him to leave.He is called Ackley kid, even by students younger than him.
14Stradlater Holden’s handsome and popular roommate at Pencey Holden describes him as a secret slob; that is he appears well groomed, but keeps his personal effects in horrible condition.
15Minor Characters Maurice Mr. Spencer Elevator operator at Holden’s hotelHe is the pimp for the prostitute Holden buysHe lies about the amount of money Holden owes him and punches him in the stomach.Holden’s history teacher at PenceyTries to lecture Holden on working hard, but Holden completely disregards him
16Minor Characters Sunny Carl Luce A prostitute that Holden buys, and then does not useHolden’s student advisor at the school Holden attended before PenceyKnowledgeable about sexual matters, and Holden attempts to question him about itHe calls Holden immature for this
18Themes Youthful Ignorance Maturation In the case of Holden, his desire to protect this traitMaturationThe change from youthful ignorance to the realities of the adult world.Facing Problems rather then running from themIn the beginning Holden runs away from boarding school, but at the end he stays home instead of running again.
19Symbols The Catcher in the Rye A misinterpreted quote from the poem by Robert Burns forms the basis of this symbolHolden quotes the poem as “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” while it is actually “if a body meet a body.Holden metaphorically pictures himself standing between the edge of a rye field and a cliff, catching children who blindly run out of the field before they fall.This is symbolic of Holden's desire to protect people, especially Phoebe, from the fall from youthful ignorance and the complex issues of the adult worldWhen Phoebe corrects Holden on the quote, he begins to question the oversimplification of the real world, and starts to face it.
20Symbols Holden’s Hunting Hat The Ducks in Central Park Holden’s desire to be differentThe Ducks in Central ParkHolden’s yearning for somewhere he fits in, like how the ducks fit naturally in the pondThe Museum of Natural HistoryHolden compares life to the Eskimo exhibit, and how the museum is always constant.“You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south,…, and that Squaw with the naked bosom would still be wearing that same blanket. Nobody’d be different. The only thing different would be you.” (pg 157)Holden wants to have a stable aspect in his life, and this is symbolic of that desire
21Point of view Told in first person by Holden Caulfield Holden is a reminiscent narrator, but tells the story only about six months after it occurred while he is a patient in a mental hospital.Is Holden a reliable narrator?Holden tells the truth, but adds his own commentary on to it. He is reliable, but only to a point