You are on page 1of 2

Plot Overview

About the Author

Holden Caulfield is a 16-year-old who narrates the

story in his point of view. He was kicked out of
Pencey Prep due to his grades. He starts off in his
dorm, where he is talking to Ackley. Ackley is his
dorm neighbor who enters his room whenever and
has a face full of acne. Ackley then leaves to sleep,
which then Stradlater comes in, Holdens roommate.
Holden and Stradlater then get into a serious fight
over a girl named Jane, who was a girl Holden
talked to a lot in the past. She was Stradlaters date,
which for some reason ticked of Holden. After the
fight Holden decides to runaway to New York. Once
he gets there he decides not to go to his parents
house, because they didnt know he got kicked out
of Pencey Prep. He tells the taxi driver to take him
to this rundown hotel he knows. He decides that
Wednesday will be the day he will return in the
meantime he occupies himself by doing different
things. He decides to go bar after bar, but cant seem
to cheer himself up. He hooks up with a girl named
Sally Hayes, who he doesnt really like but she is
pretty as hell. He gets tired of her phony personality
and ends up alone again. He hates being alone, so he
decides to sneak to his house and see his little sister
Phoebe. Phoebe is very mature for her age and
Holden loves her to death. Before Holden leaves
Phoebe he has a dance with her, and Phoebe gives
him her Christmas money. After visiting Phoebe,
Holden decides to go visit an old teacher. After an
awkward situation he leaves in a rush. He has a plan
to move to a cabin in the forest and live alone in
peace. He decides before he leaves to meet up with
Phoebe to return her money. They meet up at the
museum close to her school. Phoebe wont let him
go without her, so after hanging out at the park. He
decides to stay in New York with Phoebe and his

J.D. Salinger was born on January 1, 1919, in New

York. His novel, The Catcher in the Rye, sent
Salinger tot the heights of literary fame in postWWII. He was the youngest of two children, and the
son of a rabbi who ran a cheese and ham import
business. After flunking out of the McBurney
School near his home, he was shipped off to Valley
Forge Military Academy. He then attended many
universities, but he life changed when he went to
Columbia University. There he met a professor
named Whit Burnett. Who was also the editor of
Story magazine. He pushed Salinger to write more
and publish it, and Salinger did. Other big-name
publications were also showing his work. However,
he was interrupted by WWII. He was drafted and
served 1942-44. Finally in 1951, his novel The
Catcher in the Rye was published.

Historical Context
World War II had just ended. Financially, the
average worker improved significantly for since the
Great Depression. Inflation however, caused new
problems. The atomic bomb had just been dropped
on Japan, which was seen as a blessing because it
ended the war quickly and caused less deaths. But
it was a curse. The United States was both liberal
and conservative, but leaning increasingly towards
rights. Since people had better jobs that meant
more money. Holdens family was rich, they had a
maid to do all their house cleaning and Holden went
to Pencey Prep. He was loaded with money in the
beginning and his father is a business man.

Novel Notes
The Catcher In
The Rye
J.D. Salinger
Thalia Avalos

Essential Quotes
Dont ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you
start missing everybody.
(Salinger, 214)
People always clap for the wrong reason
Add Work Cited Here: Baldwin, Stephen P.
CliffsNotes on The Catcher in the Rye. 25 May
SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on The Catcher in
the Rye. SparkNotes LLC. 2007.
Web. 16 May 2016

Character Analysis

Holden Caulfield: Holden Caulfield is 17 years old

and the narrator of the story. He is 6 feet 2 inches,
partially gray-haired, skinny, and older looking. He
did attend Pencey however, got kicked out. He
smokes quite often and loves to drink. He is very bipolar and a guy with many struggles. He hates being
alone and likes to hangout with his younger sister.
Many people tick him off, especially the guys in
prep schools.

Phoebe Caulfield: Phoebe Caulfield is Holdens tenyear-old sister. She is very smart for her age and the
one Holden trusts the most. Her favorite film is The
39 Steps (1935). She likes writing and writes stories
about a girl detective named, Hazle Weatherfield.
She is also the only one who rights it Hazle not
Hazel. She also adopts Weatherfield as her middle

Stradlater: Stradlater is Holdens roommate at

Pencey. He is handsome and an athlete, which the
girls love. He appears as a nice clean person, but in
all reality he is a slob. To Holden he is a goddam
stupid moron. He hooks up with a girl Holden
knew before, which pisses off Holden. They get in a
big fight over this matter.

Ackley: Holdens neighbor at Pencey who barges in

whenever. He is known for his pimply face, and his
terrible hygiene. He acts oblivious to Holdens hints
to leave and that he shouldnt touch his stuff.
Holden also believes he makes up lies about his
sexual experiences. Ackley also has a dislike
towards Stradlater, Holdens roommate.

Phoniness: Phoniness plays a very big part in this
story. Holden sees pretty much everyone to be a
phony, mainly the adults, and states how they dont
even realize it. It describes the hypocrisy,
pretension, and shallowness that he encounters in
the world.
Youth: Holden loves the spirits of kids. Unlike
adults, kids are bundles of happiness filled with
innocence. They dont know the challenges of life
and are filled with excitement. Adults however, are
phonies who annoy Holden.
Isolation: Holden feels confined in one circle. The
circle of the rich, privilege schoolmates he attends
school with. He too is a privilege, rich kid who
could never connect with the the kids who are less
Death: Death comes up a lot in the novel. It first
appears when Stradlater, Holdens roommate, asks
Holden to write him a summary with lots of detail.
He writes about the death of his brother Allie, who
died of leukemia. Allie played baseball and wrote
poems on his glove so he had something to read
when he got bored. Holden writes the summary on
the glove Allie had, which was a field glove not a
catcher glove. Allie is like more like the catcher in
the rye. He kept Holden safe from jumping over the
cliff. Allie is eternally dead and eternally innocent
and keep Holden connect to the world. Holden
wants to be like Allie is to him to someone else.
Death also reoccurs when a schoolmate jumps out
the window and plummets to his death, when trying
to escape kids who are beating him up.

Motifs and Symbols

Holdens Red Hat: Holden states how unique and
different the hat is in the book. The hat represents
how Holden wants to be different, unlike everyone
else. However, he doesnt really where it often or
around people. He rather be around people and not
alone, then being different. It is also the same color
as Phoebes and Allies hair, which might make him
feel more connected to them. Phoebe also takes his
hat and puts it on.
The Museum of Natural History: Museums to
Holden never change, they stay frozen in time.
Unlike how he comes back each time different than
before. The museum represents the world Holden
wants to live in the catcher in the rye. A world
where nothing changes, where everything is simple,
where everything is understandable. Holden fears
the unpredictable challenges of the world and he
hates conflict.
Ducks: Holden wonders where the ducks go when
the pond becomes frozen. He doesnt know and
constantly wonders what the answer is. This
represents the innocence and childish mind of
Holden. The curiosity and joyfulness to encounter
the mysterious of the world. It also shows how some
things only vanish for a certain amount of time, but
eventually return. The pond is also part frozen and
then transitions to being not frozen, which
represents childhood into adulthood.
Loneliness: Throughout the story Holden tries his
best to find companionship. He hates being alone,
but he cant stand people and their phoniness. This
confuses him also throughout the story.

Related Interests