The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Characters
Meet the Cast
Oh, Holden. We can’t make up our mind between feeling sorry for him and telling him to just get a grip already. The problem? All he wants to do is connect with someone—anyone—but the b...
Phoebe—according to Holden—is not only the smartest kid ever, but also best dancer ever, and the most sympathetic listener ever, and the funniest little sister ever. Check out the way we learn...
Key fact: Allie is dead. Second (and related) key fact: we never meet him, but we sure do hear a lot about him. Here are some more facts: Allie was Holden’s younger brother who died of leukemia o...
Only Holden could make becoming a successful Hollywood screenwriter into some sort of failure. D.B. is Holden's older brother is a screenwriter in Hollywood. He used to write great stories—so gre...
Sex is complicated. But for Holden, and specifically for Holden's relationship with Jane, it's really, really complicated—because he actually likes her. They hold hands, they sit close to each ot...
Sally Hayes is a pretty, friendly, loud girl who likes to eat ice cream, see matinees, and show off her cute butt in "one of those little skirts" (17.25). Ugh, that is the worst, right?Or, maybe it...
Let's just cut right to the chase. Does Mr. Antolini come on to Holden? The answer is … it's not clear. There are definitely some hints that something is up here. We know that Mr. Antolini's wife...
Mr. Spencer is old. And gross. (Well, apparently those two are basically the same thing to Holden.) Check out our introduction to this poor guy:The minute I went in, I was sort of sorry I'd come. H...
Stradlater is super dreamy: he's an athlete, he's handsome, he's got a nice body, he's always walking around in a towel to show off that body, and, oh yeah, he's a "goddam stupid moron" (6.40). But...
Ackley is dirty, pimply, and all-around unhygienic. He's annoying. He'll come into your room and pick up your personal stuff and put it back in the wrong place. He'll cut his toenails all over your...
The Two Nuns
The nuns are yet another example of a minor character (or in this case, a set of minor characters) that exist only to tell us about Holden. We don't know enough about the nuns to analyze them as ch...
In Chapter Nineteen, Holden admits that the main reason he called his childhood friend Carl Luce, besides wanting some company, is that old Luce was always good for a sex talk. Apparently, all he d...
Maurice is an angry pimp who prostitutes out a young girl, steals five dollars, and punches Holden in the stomach. He wears a "phony shirt collar" under his uniform, has a "big fat hairy stomach" a...
First things first: we're almost positive that "Sunny" isn't this girl's real name. She's the prostitute the elevator man pimps out to Holden, and when we first meet her we're all excited that we'r...
The headmaster of Pencey Prep. Need we say more? Clearly a phony.
The headmaster's daughter. Knows her father is a phony jerk. Wears "falsies." Clearly a phony.
The rich alumnus who made all his money from inexpensive funeral parlors. Gives boring speeches about applying oneself and praying. (Check out "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" for more on Ossenburger.)
Herb Gale, a.k.a. Ely
Robert Ackley's roommate, who never makes an appearance.
The Pencey boy that "laid [a] terrific fart" during Ossenburger's big speech, making the event worth attending.
The basketball coach. He lends Stradlater his car for dates.
A "friend" of Holden's at Pencey. On the wrestling team. He goes to the movies with Holden and (begrudgingly) Ackley.
The janitor's wife.
A guy at Pencey. Holden meets his mother on the train.
An attractive woman and a classmate's mother who Holden meets on the train. He spins some entertaining lies for her benefit, including a fake name of "Rudolf" and having a brain tumor. Holden also...
The janitor at Ossenburger Hall who lends his name to Holden's fictional persona on the train away from Pencey.
Sally Hayes's mother. She thinks Holden is "wild" and is not a big fan of him going out with her daughter. In Holden's opinion, she would use collection money to go out for a swanky lunch.
A "friend" of Eddie Birdsell. She likes to have a good time, if you know what we mean.
A Princeton guy Holden met at party.
The hot blonde who Holden dances with in the Lavender Room. She's a lousy conversationalist, but a terrific dancer with—as Shmoop’s mom would say—a cute figure.
Mr. Spencer's wife.
One of Bernice's unattractive friends.
Bernice's unattractive friend.
Jane's alcoholic stepfather. He may or may not have "tried something" with Jane, but regardless, he's not a nice guy. He also walks around the house naked.
Cab driver #2 for Holden. He's not as concerned with the ducks as he is with the fishes, which he knows open their pores while frozen in place in the lake to get nutrients. Uh, we sure hope he’s...
The amazing piano player at Ernie's. He takes himself really seriously and bows after he plays, which Holden finds disgusting.
Joe Yale-Looking Guy
Guy that Holden sees at Ernie's. This guy gives his date a feel under the table while telling her about a guy that committed suicide. Sex-ay!
The Navy Guy
Lillian's date. This guy doesn't really like Lillian, but is probably with her for her "big knockers."
A guy at the Whooton School that Holden got drunk with in the chapel.
A childhood friend of Holden's and participant in the famous "Allie, go get your bike and meet me in front of Bobby's house" scenario.
A Quaker Holden knew at the Whooton School, who, unlike Holden, was a fan of the disciples.
Holden's very short-term roommate at Elkton Hills. Dick was the owner of some very inexpensive suitcases.
One of Holden's elementary school teachers. She "never got sore," which is a nice quality for teachers to have.
Holden's side-by-side partner for the walk through the museum. Gertrude always wanted to hold (sticky) hands.
A big bore from Elkton Hills, but the greatest whistler ever.
The phony guy who Sally talks to at the matinee. George is a big social climber who went to Andover.
A guy that Jane Gallagher dated once. She said he had an inferiority complex.
Bob Robinson has an inferiority complex, according to Holden, but girls think he's simply arrogant.
Roberta Walsh's Roommate
The girl who thinks Bob Robinson is arrogant.
Tina and Janine
Two French entertainers at the Wicker Bar at the swanky Seton Hotel.
The sexy woman who performs after Tina and Janine at the Wicker Bar.
The regular elevator boy. Thankfully AWOL when Holden goes home.
A boy at Elkton Hills that killed himself while wearing Holden's turtleneck sweater. See "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" for more.
A friend of Phoebe's at school who showed her how to belch. Imagine that being your Shmoopable legacy.
Mrs. Antolini, a.k.a. Lillian
Mr. Antolini's wife. Mrs. Antolini is old, not too attractive, and wealthy. (For more on why this maters, check out Mr. Antolini's "Character Analysis").
One of Holden's classmates in Oral Expression class. He's a spinner of fantastic digressions that entertained Holden but didn't go over so well with the instructor.
Mr. Vinson is Holden's Oral Expression teacher. According to Holden, he's "very intelligent and all, but you could tell he didn't have too much brains."