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The Catcher in the Rye, novel by J.D. Salinger published in 1951. The novel details 2 days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after ~ he has been expelled from prepare school. Confused and also disillusioned, Holden searches for truth and rails against the “phoniness” the the adult world. He ends up exhausted and also emotionally unstable. The occasions are related after the fact.


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The next morning, Holden phone call Sally Hayes, one 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 with a previous schoolmate, Carl Luce, at a bar, however Luce leaves early because he becomes annoyed by Holden’s immature comments. Holden stays behind and also gets drunk through himself. After he leaves, he wanders in main Park until the cold cd driver him come his family’s apartment. The sneaks in, quiet not ready to face his parents, and finds his 10-year-old sister, Phoebe. She is upset when she hears the Holden has failed out and also accuses that of not liking anything. The is currently that Holden describes to his sister his fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye,” which was motivated by a song he heard a tiny boy singing: “If a body record a body comin’ v the rye.” Phoebe tells him that the words space “If a body meet a human body coming through the rye,” native a city by Robert Burns. (Burns’s poem, “Comin thro’ the Rye,” exist in number of versions, but most render the lines as “Gin a body accomplish a human body / Comin thro’ the rye.”) soon they hear your parents come house after a night out, and Holden sneaks away. He calls his former English teacher, Mr. Antolini, that tells Holden he can come stay at his apartment. Holden falls asleep ~ above Antolini’s couch and also awakes come Antolini stroking his forehead, which Holden interprets as a sexual advance. He immediately excuses himself and heads come Grand central Station, where he security the rest of the night. When he awakes, he goes to Phoebe’s school and also leaves a note telling her the he plans to run away and asking she to fulfill him in ~ a museum during lunch. She arrives through a pack bag and insists top top going v him. That tells she no and also instead takes she to the zoo, whereby he watches she ride the carousel in the putting rain. This is where the flashback ends. The novel closes with Holden explaining that he has actually fallen “sick” but is intended to go to a brand-new school in the fall.


The Catcher in the Rye takes the lose of innocence together its major concern. Holden desires to it is in the “catcher in the rye”—someone that saves youngsters from falling off a cliff, which can be understood as a metaphor for beginning adulthood. Together Holden watches Phoebe on the carousel, engaging in childlike behaviour, the is so get rid of with delight that the is, together he puts it, “damn near bawling.” By taking her to the zoo, he allows her to maintain her childlike state, for this reason being a successful “catcher in the rye.” during this time, however, city hall her and the other children on the carousel, that has likewise come to expropriate that that cannot save everyone: “If they want to grab for the yellow ring, you need to let them carry out it, and not say anything. If they autumn off, they loss off.”

Holden’s surname is likewise significant: Holden have the right to be check out as “hold on,” and Caulfield can be separated into caul and also field. Holden’s desire is to “hold on” come the protective extending (the caul) the encloses the field of innocence (the same field he desire to save the youngsters from leaving). Holden desperately wants to continue to be true and also innocent in a civilization full of, as he puts it, “phonies.” Salinger when admitted in an interview the the novel to be semi-autobiographical.

Publication and also initial reception

The Caulfield family members was one Salinger had already explored in a number of stories that had actually been published by various magazines. Holden appeared in some of those stories, also narrating one, yet he was no as richly fleshed the end in them together he would certainly be in The Catcher in the Rye. The novel, unlike the other stories that the Caulfield family, had challenges getting published. Initially solicited by Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript to be rejected after the head of the trade division asked whether Holden was supposed to be crazy. It was then the Salinger’s agent, Dorothy Olding, approached Little, Brown and Company, which published the novel in 1951. After Little, Brown purchase the manuscript, Salinger showed it come The new Yorker, assuming that the magazine, which had published numerous of his short stories, would want to print excerpts native the novel. The new Yorker garbage it, however, as the editors found the Caulfield kids too precocious to be plausible and also Salinger’s writing format exhibitionistic.

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

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After posting The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger came to be a recluse. As soon as asked because that the legal rights to adapt it because that Broadway or Hollywood, that emphatically declined. In spite of Holden’s never ever having showed up in any kind subsequent to that in Salinger’s novel, the character has had a long-lasting influence, reaching millions of readers, including two specifically notorious ones. In 1980 note David Chapman identified so wholly v Holden that he ended up being convinced that murdering john Lennon would rotate him into the novel’s protagonist. The Catcher in the Rye was additionally linked to man W. Hinckley, Jr.’s test assassination of U.S. Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1981. The novel remained significant into the 21st century; indeed, countless American high schools included it in their curriculum. The novel has actually been banned numerous times since of its braided language and also sexual content.