The Catcher in the Rye

Title: The Catcher in the Rye 

Author: J.D. Salinger 

Time and place written: Late 1940s – early 1950s, New YorkImage

Characters:

Holden Caulfield- The protagonist and narrator of the novel. A sixteen year old boy who has been expelled for academic failure from Prency Prep. He is very uncomfortable with his own weaknesses and also tries to protect himself from the adult world. 

Ackley- Holden’s next door neighbor in his dorm at Prency Prep. He is very insecure, unattractive, and often lies about his sexual experience. 

Stradlater- Holden’s roommate at Prency Prep. He is very attractive, self-satisfied, and popular. However, he is secretly unclean and disorganized. 

Jane Gallagher- One of the few girls that Holden respects and finds attractive. He had spent the summer with Jane at his house in Maine, and they grew to like each other. (She never makes an appearance in the novel.) 

Mr. Spencer- Holden’s history teacher at Prency Prep, who unsuccessfully tries to dig Holden out of his academic struggle. 

Phoebe Caulfield- Holden’s ten year old sister who listens and understands most of what Holden says. She is extremely intelligent, neat, and innocent. She is one of Holden’s consistent sources of happiness throughout the novel.

Allie Caulfield- Holden’s younger brother who dies of leukemia three years before the novel begins. Holden often carries around a baseball glove on which Allie used to write poems on in green ink. He was one of the smartest and friendliest of the Caulfield family. 

 

Themes, Symbols, Motifs:

Alienataion/ lonliness

Growing up (The “phoniness” of adults)

Lying/ deception

Relationships

Red hunting hat- individuality

Conforming to society

 

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