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The Catcher in the Rye, novel by J.D. Salinger released in 1951. The novel details two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield ~ he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and also disillusioned, Holden searches because that truth and also rails against the “phoniness” the the adult world. He ends up exhausted and also emotionally unstable. The occasions are connected after the fact.


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The next morning, Holden calls Sally Hayes, an ex-girlfriend that his. They spend the day with each other until Holden renders a crude oil remark and she pipeline crying. Holden climate meets up through a former schoolmate, Carl Luce, at a bar, however Luce leaves early due to the fact that he i do not care annoyed by Holden’s immature comments. Holden remains behind and also gets drunk through himself. After that leaves, that wanders in main Park until the cold drives him come his family’s apartment. He sneaks in, tho not prepared to challenge his parents, and also finds his 10-year-old sister, Phoebe. She is upset as soon as she hears that Holden has actually failed out and accuses that of not liking anything. It is currently that Holden defines to his sisters his fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye,” i beg your pardon was influenced by a tune he heard a tiny boy singing: “If a body capture a human body comin’ with the rye.” Phoebe tells him that the words room “If a human body meet a human body coming v the rye,” native a city by Robert Burns. (Burns’s poem, “Comin thro’ the Rye,” exists in numerous versions, yet most render the lines together “Gin a body meet a body / Comin thro’ the rye.”) quickly they hear their parents come residence after a night out, and Holden sneaks away. That calls his previous English teacher, Mr. Antolini, who tells Holden he can come stay at his apartment. Holden drops asleep on Antolini’s couch and also awakes come Antolini stroking his forehead, i m sorry Holden interprets as a sex-related advance. He instantly excuses himself and heads to Grand main Station, wherein he spends the remainder of the night. As soon as he awakes, that goes come Phoebe’s school and also leaves a keep in mind telling her that he plan to operation away and asking she to accomplish him at a museum during lunch. She arrives v a pack bag and also insists on going v him. That tells her no and also instead takes she to the zoo, where he watches she ride the carousel in the pouring rain. This is wherein the flashback ends. The novel closes v Holden explaining that he has actually fallen “sick” however is expected to walk to a new school in the fall.


The Catcher in the Rye takes the loss of innocence as its primary concern. Holden wants to it is in the “catcher in the rye”—someone that saves children from falling turn off a cliff, which have the right to be construed as a an allegory for entering adulthood. Together Holden city hall Phoebe on the carousel, engaging in childlike behaviour, that is so overcome with joy that that is, as he place it, “damn close to bawling.” By acquisition her come the zoo, he enables her to keep her childlike state, therefore being a effective “catcher in the rye.” during this time, however, watching her and also the other kids on the carousel, he has additionally come to expropriate that that cannot save everyone: “If they want to grab because that the gold ring, you have to let them carry out it, and also not speak anything. If they autumn off, they autumn off.”

Holden’s surname is additionally significant: Holden have the right to be check out as “hold on,” and Caulfield deserve to be separated into caul and also field. Holden’s desire is to “hold on” to the protective covering (the caul) the encloses the field of innocence (the same ar he desire to store the youngsters from leaving). Holden desperately desires to continue to be true and innocent in a people full of, as he put it, “phonies.” Salinger as soon as admitted in one interview the the novel was semi-autobiographical.

Publication and initial reception

The Caulfield household was one Salinger had already explored in a number of stories that had been published by various magazines. Holden showed up in few of those stories, even narrating one, yet he was not as richly fleshed the end in them as he would certainly be in The Catcher in the Rye. The novel, unlike the other stories the the Caulfield family, had challenges getting published. Initially solicited by Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript to be rejected after ~ the head the the trade division asked whether Holden was claimed to it is in crazy. It to be then that Salinger’s agent, Dorothy Olding, approached Little, Brown and also Company, which published the novel in 1951. After Little, Brown bought the manuscript, Salinger proved it to The new Yorker, assuming the the magazine, which had actually published numerous of his brief stories, would desire to publish excerpts indigenous the novel. The brand-new Yorker rejected it, however, together the editors uncovered the Caulfield kids too precocious to be plausible and Salinger’s writing layout exhibitionistic.

The Catcher in the Rye’s reception to be lukewarm in ~ first. Numerous critics to be impressed through Holden as a personality and, specifically, by his layout of narration. Salinger was able to develop a character who relatability stemmed native his unreliability—something the resonated with many readers. Others, however, felt the the novel to be amateur and also unnecessarily coarse.

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After posting The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger became a recluse. When asked for the legal rights to it is adapted it because that Broadway or Hollywood, that emphatically declined. Despite Holden’s never having appeared in any form subsequent to that in Salinger’s novel, the personality has had a long-lasting influence, reaching millions of readers, including two an especially notorious ones. In 1980 mark David Chapman identified so wholly through Holden that he ended up being convinced the murdering john Lennon would turn him right into the novel’s protagonist. The Catcher in the Rye was additionally linked to john W. Hinckley, Jr.’s check assassination the U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1981. The novel remained influential into the 21st century; indeed, many American high schools included it in their curriculum. The novel has actually been banned numerous times because of its salty language and sexual content.