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The Catcher in the Rye, novel by J.D. Salinger published in 1951. The novel details two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has actually been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, Holden searches for truth and rails versus the “phoniness” that the adult world. He end up exhausted and emotionally unstable. The events are related after the fact.


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The following morning, Holden call Sally Hayes, an ex-girlfriend the his. They spend the day together until Holden renders a crude remark and also she leaves crying. Holden then meets up v a former schoolmate, Carl Luce, at a bar, but Luce pipeline early since he becomes annoyed by Holden’s immature comments. Holden continues to be behind and also gets drunk by himself. After the leaves, he wanders in main Park until the cold cd driver 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 failed out and also accuses the of no liking anything. That is at this time that Holden defines to his sisters his fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye,” i beg your pardon was influenced by a track he heard a small boy singing: “If a body record a body comin’ through the rye.” Phoebe speak him the the words room “If a body meet a body coming through the rye,” from a city by Robert Burns. (Burns’s poem, “Comin thro’ the Rye,” exist in several versions, but most render the lines together “Gin a body satisfy a human body / Comin thro’ the rye.”) quickly they hear their parents come home after a night out, and also Holden sneaks away. The calls his former English teacher, Mr. Antolini, who tells Holden he can come stay at his apartment. Holden drops asleep on Antolini’s couch and awakes to Antolini stroking his forehead, i m sorry Holden interprets together a sex-related advance. He immediately excuses himself and heads to Grand central Station, where he security the rest of the night. As soon as he awakes, the goes to Phoebe’s school and also leaves a note telling her that he plans to run away and asking her to accomplish him in ~ a museum throughout lunch. She arrives with a packed bag and also insists ~ above going through him. That tells her no and also instead takes she to the zoo, wherein he watches she ride the carousel in the putting rain. This is where the remind ends. The novel closes v Holden explaining the he has actually fallen “sick” but is intended to walk to a brand-new school in the fall.


The Catcher in the Rye take away the ns of innocence together its main concern. Holden desires to be the “catcher in the rye”—someone who saves youngsters from falling off a cliff, which have the right to be understood as a an allegory for entering adulthood. Together Holden city hall Phoebe top top the carousel, engaging in childlike behaviour, the is so conquer with joy that the is, as he puts it, “damn near bawling.” By acquisition her come the zoo, he allows her to preserve her childlike state, thus being a effective “catcher in the rye.” during this time, however, the town hall her and also the other kids on the carousel, that has also come to expropriate that he cannot save everyone: “If they want to grab for the gold ring, you need to let them execute it, and also not say anything. If they autumn off, they autumn off.”

Holden’s name is additionally significant: Holden have the right to be read as “hold on,” and Caulfield deserve to be separated into caul and also field. Holden’s desire is to “hold on” come the protective covering (the caul) that encloses the ar of innocence (the same field he wishes to store the kids from leaving). Holden desperately wants to stay true and also innocent in a people full of, together he puts it, “phonies.” Salinger once admitted in an interview the the novel was semi-autobiographical.

Publication and initial reception

The Caulfield family was one Salinger had currently explored in a variety of stories that had actually been released by various magazines. Holden appeared in several of those stories, also narrating one, but he was no as richly fleshed the end in them as he would be in The Catcher in the Rye. The novel, unlike the other stories that the Caulfield family, had challenges getting published. Initially solicited through Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript was rejected after the head of the trade department asked whether Holden was claimed to be crazy. It was then the Salinger’s agent, Dorothy Olding, approached Little, Brown and also Company, which published the novel in 1951. After ~ Little, Brown purchase the manuscript, Salinger verified it come The brand-new Yorker, assuming the the magazine, which had actually published number of of his short stories, would desire to print excerpts indigenous the novel. The brand-new Yorker garbage it, however, together the editors uncovered the Caulfield kids too precocious to it is in plausible and Salinger’s writing layout exhibitionistic.

The Catcher in the Rye’s reception to be lukewarm at first. Countless critics to be impressed by Holden together a personality and, special, by his layout of narration. Salinger to be able to develop a character whose relatability stemmed from his unreliability—something the resonated with countless readers. Others, however, felt that the novel was amateur and unnecessarily coarse.

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After posting The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger ended up being a recluse. As soon as asked because that the civil liberties to it is adapted it because that Broadway or Hollywood, the emphatically declined. In spite of Holden’s never having appeared in any type subsequent to that in Salinger’s novel, the personality has had a long-lasting influence, reaching countless readers, consisting of two specifically notorious ones. In 1980 mark David Chapman established so wholly through Holden that he ended up being convinced that murdering john Lennon would revolve him right into the novel’s protagonist. The Catcher in the Rye was additionally linked to man W. Hinckley, Jr.’s test assassination the U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1981. The novel remained influential into the 21st century; indeed, plenty of American high schools included it in your curriculum. The novel has actually been banned plenty of times due to the fact that of its salty language and also sexual content.