The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye Analysis

Literary Devices in The Catcher in the Rye

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Holden has a really dumb hat. Well, it is dumb. Even he admits it: I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks...

Setting

Holden's story takes place over only three days, from Saturday afternoon to Monday around 1pm. (It only feels longer.) For the exact year, you have to check out Chapter Five when Holden's talking a...

Narrator Point of View

Holden is our central, first-person narrator, so no surprises there. Right? Well…I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. If I'm on the way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and...

Genre

Holden’s not quite the right generation to be saying, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” but he’d probably agree. While most coming-of-age stories show the main character’s movement from...

Tone

Holden is the one telling the story, so his tone is Catcher’s tone. We don't think we need to spin you a large defense for our use of adjectives such as "cynical" and "judgmental"—just pick a p...

Writing Style

If an adult has every gotten on your case about uptalk, vocal fry, or saying “like” all the time, you get the point of Catcher in the Rye—you and Holden might say different things in differen...

What's Up With the Title?

The first mention we get of this mysterious catcher in this mysterious rye is when Holden overhears a little kid singing, "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." For just a second, it make...

What's Up With the Ending?

Roll with us: we think the real ending of Catcher comes not at the actual end of the book, when Holden brings us back to wherever he is in his present, but at the end of the second to last chapter,...

Tough-o-Meter

Relax. This one's easy. Told from the perspective (and in the voice) of a teenager, Catcher in the Rye is about as hard as a conversation with your best friend—if your best friend actually paid a...

Plot Analysis

Axed!What we have here, Shmoopers, is a frame narrative: Present-Holden is telling us a story about Past-Holden. Present-Holden's initial situation is … well, we don't really know, but it sounds...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rebirth

Booker says that in the "falling stage," the hero is "underdeveloped" and in the shadow of something "dark" that may "spring entirely from within the hero's own personality." Yep. Sounds about righ...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Bright Lights, Big CityHolden Caulfield gets a lecture from his old teacher, fights with his roommate, and decides he doesn't need to hang around his school anymore. It doesn't count as playing hoo...

Trivia

OK, OK, we know this is a well-known fact, but still: Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon, was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he was arrested. He said in his police sta...

Steaminess Rating

But Holden Wishes It Were a PG-13There's plenty of sex-related material in The Catcher in the Rye, but there just isn’t a ton of actual sex. (Sorry.) Holden just isn't ready to go there, probably...

Allusions

Beowulf (2.31, 15.20)"Lord Randal" (2.31, 15.20) Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa (3.4)Ring Lardner (3.4, 18.7)Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native (3.4, 15.18, 15.20)Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondag...

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