The Catcher in the Rye

J.D Salinger

Catcher's Infuence

When examaning Catcher in the Rye, it is realzied that Salingers past expierences, relationships and war effects are portayed into his books and are relatable to mostly everyone who reads his books and novels.

1. How might World War II have effected J.D. Salinger and his writing?

J.D. Salinger fought on D-Day and he expierenced thousands of deaths of friends and even people he didnt know. He entered liberated death camps and saw burned piles of human bodies. Many people believe that Catcher in the Rye was Salingers "war book."

"It is his way of healing that wound that opened when he lost his first love, and wittnessed the relentless and bottomless destruction a man is capable of." He portayed the suffering of young combat veterans after the war into his books like Perfect Day for Bannahfish and Catcher in the Rye.

Salinger wrote a letter in 1945 in germany explaining the war:

“I am twenty-six and in my fourth year in the Army. I’ve been overseas seventeen months so far. Landed on Utah Beach on D-Day with the Fourth Division and was with the 12th Infantry of the Fourth until the end of the war here. The Air Corps background for This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise [a story Esquire published] comes naturally because I used to be in the Air Corps. Have also been in the Signal Corps. Am also a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy.”

2) Describe Salinger’s lifestyle:

Salinger’s lifestyle is Private, Pathologically self –centered, abusive towards his daughter’s mother (Claire Douglas), speaking in tongues, sitting in a orogeny box, refussing assistance from people (hearing aid), secretive, anti-Semitism, lives in Cornish (relating to Cornwall language and people), writes and reads every day, doles out criticism, always told his daughter his opinions (even on how to chew food correctly). (

3) What is ironic about the authors own son, Matt Salinger:

What is ironic about “Holden Caulfield’s” son is that Holden Caulfield always judged other people and Holden Caulfield in his book “The Catcher in the Rye” always ridiculed other people and where they went to school. For example, Holden ridiculed people that went to eminent or prestigious schools and boarding schools thinking that they are all that and but his son Matt Salinger ended up going to Princeton/Columbia which is also an eminent school which is hypocritical (

4. How does Salinger's biography comtribute to an understanding of Holden Caufield?

The main character in Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, is a cover-up name for Salinger. This book is close to an autobiography of Salinger, which explains the main character’s actions. “Salinger for someone working in the movie entertainment industry is arguably the main reason why Salinger created Holden to have a hatred for Hollywood” (Kyle Mori). In reality, J.D had fallen in love with a girl whose name was Oona O’Niel. Meanwhile, at this time period, Salinger was sent to fight in the World War II, and Oona had fallen in love with another man who was an actor, producer and director. After Salinger found out, he sent Oona an angry letter. Which in the book, Holden had a similar emotion of being love hurt. “Readers can easily see Salinger's hurt of romantic rejection in, "The Catcher in the Rye,” when Holden's roommate, Stradlater, goes out on a date with Holden's childhood girlfriend, Jane Gallagher.”.

5. Why isnt there a movie version of Catcher in the Rye?

Catcher in the Rye hasn’t been turned into a movie for about 60 years. Just 2 years ago, a letter from Salinger to Mr. Herbert was published online of why the novel cannot be acted out into a movie or play,

•It’s a “novelistic” novel. Salinger talks about the asides of Holden’s thoughts like “gasoline rainbows in street puddles, his philosophy or way of looking at cowhide suitcases and empty toothpaste cartons—in a way, his thoughts.”

•The “immeasurably risky business of using actors.” Salinger couldn’t envision a child actress playing Phoebe or a young actor playing Holden because even if they had “X”, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

•No director could get the necessary performances from these actors.

Due to many details, creativity, imagination, emotions, it cannot be put into a 2hour movie. As Salinger says, it cannot be the same for a “novelistic” novel.

6. If there were a movie version what modern day actors would play the main characters and why?

There is not a movie version of The Catcher in the Rye because Salinger believes that people who make the money will overpower him and take the money and run. He knows that the directors and people of Hollywood will not find the perfect characters for the characters in the novel. Salinger knows that the message he wrote for the book will not be conveyed correctly and be traslated wrong.


Dakota Fanning would be the best decision for the role of Phoebe. Throughout the book Holden often goes into detail about how pretty and smart Phoebe is and all the wonderful things she does. Dakota would best portray these traits of Phoebe.

7. How might Salinger's relationships have effect his novel?

As Holden conversates with the other characters his thoughts and feelings towards them make them seem more real. He describes what he sees from his point of view and explains the events and expierences as they come along. We learn from the novel that Holden starts to realize that it is very diffult to keep a relationship with anyone. Though he is always acting polite and respectful towards adults. He tries to avoid all the negativity and the issues of the real world and try to make it his way.


  • "The thing that was descripitive about it, though, was that he wrote poems all over the fingers and the pocket and everywhere. In green ink. He wrote them on it so them that he'd have something to read when he was in the field and nobody was up at bat. He's dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were in Maine, on July 18, 1946" (Salinger, 38). This shows how Holden truly cares for his brother Allie and helps explain why he is always have trust issues and being so distant.
  • "What I really felt like, though, was committing sucide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed" (Salinger, 104). This explains why Holden is "mad" and distant. He does not want to be like anybody else but him and all he has been through explains why he thinks like this. He is simply unhappy and he believes that killing himself will make it better.
  • "My brother D.B. was in the Army for four goddam years. He was in the war too-he landed on D-Day and all-but I really think he hated the Army worse than the war" (Salinger 140). This shows that Salinger did indeed have PTSD and he put his own expierences into this novel but placed them opon a different character instead of the main character.
  • " Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will" (Salinger, 141). This quote explains that Salinger went insane because he was thinking about killing himself. Also that he was a madman and relates to the Maddness and Depression theme.

Salinger's Daughter Writes Of Her Father's Obsessions

  • "Ms. Salinger says she is willing to take the risk that her father might not speak to her again. And then of course there is the possibility that the public might see her book as an attempt to trade on his name. In any case she has written it, Ms. Salinger says, to make sense of her strange childhood. "
  • "Ms. Salinger also says that when she was 13 months old, her mother planned to kill her and commit suicide, and did indeed burn the house down later. Ms. Salinger said her mother denied setting the fire. Ms. Douglas is now a Jungian analyst in California and ''a terrific grandma,'' Ms. Salinger said."
  • "Ms. Salinger said she wrote ''Dream Catcher'' because ''I was absolutely determined not to repeat with my son what had been done with me.''"
  • "There is one moment that stands out above all, she said. ''It is so horrible, it's so powerful.'' When she was pregnant and sick, instead of offering help, her father ''said I had no right to bring a child into this lousy world,'' she writes, ''and he hoped I was considering an abortion.''"


Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger uses his personal expierences while writing the book. Jane was an example of his first love Oona. Salinger gave Holdens' older brother to show his PTSD and his war effort. Salinger showed through Holden that he was a man who was sad and lonley and wanted to be alone. He was just as alienated from the world as Holden was. When Salinger came back from war it effected him very much and the best way to get rid of that depression was to write his books and novels.


1) Is Salinger’s lifestyle more open or more secretive?

2) Is Salinger a criticizer or opinionated person?

3) What is ironic about Holden’s son?

4) How did World War II have affected J.D Salinger in his writing?

5) How does Salinger’s biography contribute to an understanding of Holden Caufield?

6) Why isn’t there a movie version on The Catcher in the Rye?

7) Why did Salinger’s first lover Oona leave?

8) What main Battle in World War ll did Salinger fight in?

9) What other books did Salinger write that showed the effects of war on him?

10) What movie characters would play the main characters in “The Catcher in the Rye”?

Work Cited

  1. Salinger, J. D.. The catcher in the rye. [1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 19511945. Print.
  2. Smith, Danita. "Salingers Daughter Writes Of Her Fathers Obsessions." The New
    York Times. The New York Times Company, 31 Aug. 2000. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

  3. Goldberg, Matt. "1957 Letter from J.D. Salinger Explains Why CATCHER IN THE RYE
    Wouldn’t Work as a Movie." Collider. Collider, 21 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Apr.
    2014. <

  4. Mori, Kyle. "J.D. Salinger and Holden Caulfield Of, 'Catcher in the Rye.'"
    Yahoo. Google, 28 Sept. 2006. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

  5. _Celtics, Bostin. "Anyone else see the irony in J.D. Salinger's son?" IGN.
    Google, 24 May 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <

  6. Smith, Danita. "Salingers Daughter Writes Of Her Fathers Obsessions." The New
    York Times. The New York Times Company, 31 Aug. 2000. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

  7. Franco, James. "J.D. Salingers War." VICE. VICE, 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Apr.

  8. Crane, Stephen. "J.D. Salinger and His War." Word Press. The Red Animal Project,
    13 Feb. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.