The Catcher in the Rye

By: J.D. Salinger

Plot Overview

The Catcher in the Rye is a first person narration told by a young man of seventeen named Holden Caulfield. The story takes place in the 1950s in the fall of the previous year describing the events that occur within in a three day period between Holden's fall semester and Christmas day. Following his expulsion from Pencey Prep private school, Holden decides to leave school two days in advance to spend time roaming the streets of New York before returning home. Within his time alone, Holden meets a variety of odd characters ranging from teachers, prostitutes, nuns, and old friends, to his little sister Phoebe. Follow Holden as he struggles to hold back the hands of time in his attempt to escape growing up.

Reasons for Dispute

The years from 1966 to 1975 were the Catcher and the Rye's greatest time of controversy. Many teachers were fired for assigning Salinger's novel to classes, and school's debated it's place in their libraries and classrooms. For many it was the book's blatant use of profanity, violence, and sexuality that made it for a questionable read. Some also considered Holden's views to be immoral or misanthropic. Caulfields' bold criticisms and hateful remarks of the world around him have left many open to questioning the true motives behind this famed novel.

Digging Deeper...

Language, Voice, and Holden Caulfield: The Catcher in the Rye Part 1