The catcher in the Ray J D Salinger






Cloud Callout:



















1. Summary

2. Main  Character

3. personal opinion



Book Report: "The catcher in the Rye" written by J.D. Salinger


The story is about the youth life of Holden Caulfield, a 17 year old student at Pencey. But in this book there are only told two or three days after leaving Pencey.

He was already kicked out of 2 schools before and this year he is again flunking 4 subjects. He is about leaving also this school and so he visits his old history teacher for telling him good-bye. Back at the dorm he talks to his room-mate Stradlater, who wants him to do a composition for English for him because he has a date with Jane Hallagher, an old friend of Holden. Holden finds the time to write the essay. He was told to write a description of something and so he described Allie's baseball mitt.

Allie was his 2 years younger brother, who died on leukaemia some years ago. Holden was 13 when he died. It was a great shock for him; he broke the windows in the garage and he hurt his hand.

Anyway, when Stradlater comes back home, he wasn't satisfied with the composition. They talk about the date and Holden asks him if they had sex, but Stradlater just says that it's a "professional secret". Holden gets mad and they have a fight until he is defeated and gets unconscious. When he wakes up, he makes the decision to leave Pencey immediately.

He goes to New York by train and there he meets the mother of a schoolmate Ernest Morrow. Holden poses as Rudolf Schmidt and only tells lies to Ernest's mother - but good lies about her son: so he reports about the friendliness and sensitiveness  of her son and that he is the most popular boy at school although Holden  thinks that Ernest is the biggest bastard at school but he likes this woman. Nevertheless he tells her that he has an operation because of a little tumor on his brain, therefore his Christmas vacations "start" some days earlier.  

Arriving in New York he rents a room in a hotel. At the bar he meets 3 women he talks to for wasting time. He jumps into a cab and goes to a bar where he meets an old girlfriend of D.B., his older brother, a writer in Hollywood. Unfortunately she has no time and so he comes back to the hotel where he ordered a prostitute for 5$. They have no sex, but he gets in a row with the owner who wants 10$.

The next morning he calls Sally, a friend, for having a date. They go to the movies and afterwards ice skating. They talk about wedding but get into an argument and so he leaves her. He tries to meet another friend, who had no time as well. He gets drunk and walks to Central Park. He is freezing like hell and so he decides to go home to meet Phoebe, his younger sister without telling their parents.

She is surprised meeting him but she soon becomes disappointed because she knows that he left school again. When their parents come home he leaves the house to visit his old English teacher. He talks to him but becomes tired and so he goes to sleep. When he wakes up he feels his old teacher petting his head. Holden gets scared and so he leaves and stays at a waiting room. He decides to leave and to go west but he wants to meet Phoebe first and so he leaves a message for her at school. He meets her at the museum, carrying a suitcase, because she wants to come with him. They go to a carrousel where he finally decides to stay at home.

During his time spending in New York, he remembers very often his sister Phoebe - her smartness and her innocence. He often dreams to be as Phoebe because then he wouldn't have realised the death of Allie.

In the end we recognise that Holden tells us the story when he stays in a psychiatry after getting sick at home.

Main Characters

Holden Caulfield

The author gave a good description of Holden Caulfield as an always lonesome and depressed youngster who didn't get over his younger brother's death.

Holden loves to provoke people and telling them lies about his terrible fate.

Only to earn some sympathy he makes up lots of stories about his childhood and his experiences he made.

The most important person in his life is his little sister Phoebe who is innocent and smart. Her life is perfect: good marks, lots of friends, a public school and the love of her parents which Holden often didn't feel at boarding schools. Therefore he misses the love he didn't get and makes up stories to get some compassion.

Holden's dream is to become a catcher in the rye which means that he wants to stand at an abyss in a rye and to save all people who want to jump into the abyss.

So he could help all despaired people who want to commit suicide.


Personal opinion

That's a very good book and I enjoyed reading it because of the many thoughts Holden had which he told in a funny, youth speech. But it also made me think about Holden's situation and problems.

It isn't difficult to understand and therefore I can only recommend it to my classmates.

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