Catcher's Influence

When analyzing Catcher in the Rye's long-lasting influence, it is clear to see that the way Holden conducted himself shows his issues within himself, and changed how people view themselves after reading the book.

What lasting influcence has The Catcher in the Rye had on American Culture?

The book has been connected to three major murders, including John Lennon. While at trial, he said he did it becuase Lennon was "phony" and talked about being non-materialistic even though he was. John Lennon's murder was a huge deal when it happened and still today for some people. What could he have accomplished for people if he hadn't been killed.

At one point "Catcher in the Rye" was the number one banned book in high schools because it was said to have a bad influence on the students. Now it is one of the books they recommend you read because of all the things he goes through and how he thinks of people.

What other examples of the "Holden" archetype have you seen in modern media?

Similar archetypes of Holden Caufield include Ethan Hawke in "Dead Poets Society", Jake Gyllenhaal in "The Good Girl", and lastly, Toby Maguire in "The Ice Stem."

What trends do you see in the types of people who are drawn to the novel? Why could this be?

People who usually become interested in this book and like it are outcasts. Reasons for outcasts liking the novel are that they feel very alone and can relate to the book and the main character.

Why do you think The Catcher in the Rye is so constantly referenced? Why does it hold such a central role in our culture? Is this role deserved?

It is referenced so much because it relates to growing up and deciding which way a person wants to take their life, and other normal teenage problems, like difficulties in school, fitting in, and phyiscal appearance. It also makes you think of how other teen think, not just yourself.

It hold a central role in society because many teens can still relate to it. We do not think the the role is deserved since many other books have been released more recently which try connecting to youth.

How are a presidential attempted assassination and the murder of John Lennon associated to Catcher in the Rye?

John Hinckley Jr. would have been the assassin of Ronald Reagan and Mark David Chapman, the killer of John Lennon both had copies of the book and used them as their explanation for why they commited their crimes.

Why and how does Catcher in the Rye fit into the banned book classification?

The attempts to remove the book from libraries and school are because of obscene language, vulgar language, and sexual situations.

Have perceptions of the novel changed through time? If so, how?

People's view of the novel have changed much over time. The book was one protested and rejected from public catholic schools and deemed "Inappropriate" in the 40's and 50's. For many readers the book has always been a symbol of freedom.

What were some of the reviews on Catcher when the novel first appeared in bookstores? Why did people feel this way about the novel?

A reviewer says thats the book interested him, however it became monotonous and boring. It was also seen as depressing due to Holden's continuous blabber about jerks, and all of the crumby schools he went through.

Why do readers and critics feel so much animosity towards Salinger's characters?

Holden was a character hat was portrayed as "whiny" or "emotional."

J.D. Salinger was noted for his controversial character and plots, hough "Catcher in the Rye" is still the novel for which he recieved an abundance of backlash.


1. What is the lasting influence on American culture from the book?

2. What are other examples of the "Holden" archetype?

3. What types of people are attracted to this book?

4. Why is Catcher in the Rye constantly referenced?

5. How are the attempted murders related to the book?

6. How does the book fit into the banned book category?

7. Have perceptions of the novel changed through time? How?

8. What were some reviews like when the book first came out?

9. Why are critics so harsh to Salinger's characters?


Texual evidence

Page 58: Holden lies to Ernie's mom about having a tumor, to get sympathy from her since he is lonely and seeks attention.

Page 81: Holden talks to the cab driver about the ducks and won't stop asking because he is looking for a friend to continue a conversation. He is also connecting himself to the ducks because they travel so often, and have to leave.

Page 112-113: He talks to the nuns, and his opinions on every person being phony changes for once, he finally meets people who seem genuine to him.

Quiz Answers

1. It was connected to murders, and was also banned from many libraries and schools.

2. Ethan Hawke in "Dead Poets Society", Jake Gyllenhaal in "The Good Girl", and lastly, Toby Maguire in "The Ice Stem."

3. People who usually become interested in this book and like it are outcasts.

4. Because it can relate to teens of all generations.

5. Both had copies of the book and used it as their reason.

6. The book contains obscene language and situations.

7. Yes, the book is not resisted as much.

8. Most reviews of the book at first described the book as boring and monotonous.

9. They see his characters as whiny and emotional.