Catcher in the Rye Web Quest

Catcher's Influence


In J.D Stallinger's novel " The Catcher in the rye" has had impact on society in various ways including families, mental states, adolescence, and views. One can say these impacts still happen to this day.

What Lasting Influence has The Catcher in the Rye had on American Culture?

When John Lennon was murdered, Mark Chapman had the The Catcher in the Rye in his pocket. After shooting Lennon four times he sat down, pulled the book out of his pocket, and began reading. When questioned about why he murdered Lennon he said because he was phony which is often brought up in the book. When this book was banned it was believed to have a bad influence on students because it made them view adults as phony.

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

Any type of character that can be classified as an outcast in books, tv shows, and movies can relate to the character of Holden Caulfield. The characters that are trying to find themselves relate to Holden because he doesn't really know who he is, transferring from school to school and meeting many different people.

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

Students were asked about their views on the book and they had a wide range of responses. One replied that she "could never find the teenage rebellion that was supposed to be in the book." I agree with this because through reading this book I can't seem to figure out why this book was banned in high schools. Another student related Holden to a "grumpy old man", he did seem to complain a lot throughout the book. Some readers can "hear Holden's voice and felt him as a friend."

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

Yes. When ''The Catcher in the Rye'' first appeared in the 1950s, it was obviously a novel designed for adults. Nonetheless, it was quickly better accepted by the younger audience, who sympathized and identified themselves with the seventeen year old Caulfield, a young rebel flunking out of schools, smoking, cursing and swearing, without any life goals whatsoever. Critics and reviews declared it as a brilliant and inspiring novel, because it represented everything that is out there, real and lively, but was forbidden to talk about out loud. But although praised, it was often banned and disapproved. ''In 1960 a teacher was fired for assigning the novel in class…Today this novel is ranked to be one of the best-selling novel and one of the most taught in schools.

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

One of the most widespread criticisms of The Catcher in the Rye deals with the adolescence and repetitive nature of the main character, Holden Caulfield. Anne Goodman commented that in the course of such a lengthy novel, the reader would weary of a character such as Holden. Goodman wrote "Holden was not quite so sensitive and perceptive as he, and his creator, thought he was" (20). She also remarked that Holden was so completely self-centered that any other characters who wandered through the book, with the exception of Holden's sister, Phoebe, had no authenticity at all.

Some critics have argued that Holden's character is erratic and unreliable, as he possesses many of the middle-class values that he claims to reject.

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

Readers feel so much animosity towards Salinger's characters because they are portrayed in such a way that not many readers can really connect to them.

Holden: is portrayed as this teenage boy who seems to be very self-centerd, complains a lot, and doesn't really care about anything in the world. Anything done by anyone other than himself is phony to him. He lies a lot, to hide his true self. He was just crazy.

Stradlater: Doesn't really care about anyone but himself, thinks the world evolves around him, he also uses girls.

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 has popular themes that do not chance such as alienation, uncertainty growing up, and normal teenage problems. It holds a central role because there is many people who still can relate to it. I do not believe that this role is deserved because there is more recent books that can be more relatable to teenagers now of days.

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

John Hickley Jr. the would be assassin of President Regan and Mark David Chapman, the killer of John Lennon, both had copies of the book and used it as their explanation for committing these crimes.

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Why and how does Catcher fit into the banned book classification

Salinger once said that “Some of my best friends are children. In fact, all of my best friends are children. It’s almost unbearable to realize that my book will be kept on a shelf out of their reach.” Catcher in the Rye has been a favorite of censors since its publication because of its vulgar language, sex scenes and violence. In 1960 a teacher in Tulsa, Ohio was fired for assigning the book to her 11th grade English class.


1.Who wrote the Catcher in the Rye?

2.Why was Holden kicked out of Pencey?

3.Who does Holden enjoy talking to?

4.How does Holden feel about adults?

5.Why would this book influence adolescents and their view on adults?

6.Which picture of ours did you like the best?

7.Do you agree with our opinion on wither or not the book deserves such a central role in our culture?

8.Do you think Catcher in the Rye should be a banned book?

9.Why do you think the killer of John Lennon uses the book as his explanation for committing his crime?

10.Do you think Salinger should stay away from children?