J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: A Routledge Study Guide (Routledge Guides to Literature)

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: A Routledge Study Guide (Routledge Guides to Literature)

Sarah Graham

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 0415344530

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (1951) is a twentieth-century classic. Despite being one of the most frequently banned books in America, generations of readers have identified with the narrator, Holden Caulfield, an angry young man who articulates the confusion, cynicism and vulnerability of adolescence with humour and sincerity.

This guide to Salinger’s provocative novel offers:

  • an accessible introduction to the text and contexts of The Catcher in the Rye
  • a critical history, surveying the many interpretations of the text from publication to the present
  • a selection of new critical essays on the The Catcher in the Rye, by Sally Robinson, Renee R. Curry, Denis Jonnes, Livia Hekanaho and Clive Baldwin, providing a range of perspectives on the novel and extending the coverage of key critical approaches identified in the survey section
  • cross-references between sections of the guide, in order to suggest links between texts, contexts and criticism
  • suggestions for further reading.

Part of the Routledge Guides to Literature series, this volume is essential reading for all those beginning detailed study of The Catcher in the Rye and seeking not only a guide to the novel, but a way through the wealth of contextual and critical material that surrounds Salinger’s text.















again considers phoning Jane and, as always, find that he is not ‘in the mood’ (Ch. 15, p. 95). Instead, he calls Sally Hayes, a girlfriend that he desires physically but obviously does not like very much, and arranges to take her to the theatre later that day. Over breakfast, he gets into conversation with two nuns. This is a good example of the ways in which Salinger has structured the narrative to accommodate the past within the present. Holden can share his thoughts about the nuns, who are a

focuses on Luce’s sexual activities and tells him ‘I got a flit for you’, which Edwards reads as an attempt to ‘make sexual contact’ with Luce.114 Holden has already established that he likes older women (Mrs Morrow, for example) so it is telling that Luce and Antolini have also formed relationships with women older than themselves; this detail aligns Holden with these sexually ambiguous characters. Holden reacts so strongly to Antolini touching him because ‘he is projecting his desire for

story ‘A Boy in France’ (1945) in which Babe Gladwaller struggles to survive on a filthy battlefield. One of Salinger’s most famous stories, ‘For Esmé – With Love and Squalor’ (1950), features ‘Sergeant X’, who participates in the D-Day landings and is deeply disturbed by his experiences of combat. Some time after the German surrender, Salinger was admitted to hospital for ‘battle fatigue’; Sergeant X and Sergeant Salinger seem to have much in common. When Salinger returned to the USA he brought

interchange. Holden is acting as if he is a grown-up, but he is refused an alcoholic drink because he is under-age: despite his claims about his appearance, he is obviously not an adult. It is in this light that his ‘giving the three witches at the next table the eye’ must be seen (Ch. 10, p. 63). Holden claims that their response was to start ‘giggling like morons’, but the reader might in fact begin to appreciate the young women’s point of view: perhaps Holden does cut a rather absurd figure.

death, breaking all the windows in the garage (Ch. 5, p. 34). Such similarities align Holden with his mother. Holden’s family name also connects him to the maternal in a way that challenges the gender roles outlined in contemporary discourses that encouraged men to break away from the maternal and see women as sexual objects. Critics have pointed out that while Holden begins his story by disassociating himself from ‘biographical’ fiction such as David Copperfield (1849–50), his name and other

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