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The Catcher in the Rye
Northeast USA, (mostly New York but also Pency Prep. in PA)
Character list with short description
Holden Caulfield – Protagonist. Has grey hair on one side. Struggles to be an
Phoebe Caulfield – Holden’s little sister, about 12, one of the only people
Holden respects.
Stradlater – Jock, Holden’s roommate.
Ackley – Lives next to Holden and Stradlater. Is annoying and comes in
whenever he feels like. He doesn’t like Stradlater.
Summary (1 paragraph)
Holden Caulfield has once again flunked out of school. Before he goes home
from Pency Prep be met with his furious parents, he decides to wander around
New York hoping his parents will cool down some after receiving the all too
familiar expulsion letter. He is torn between adulthood and still being a kid.
He tries to act like an adult by going to bars and ordering a hooker. As he
matures and looses his innocence he decides that he wants to be “a catcher in
the rye”. He does not want to see his sister phoebe loose the childlike
innocence she still has. He wants to stop kids from becoming adult and having
to suffer the truths of the real world.
Symbols with short description:
Red Hunting Hat – Symbolizes Holden’s emotions and shows when he wants
to keep to himself (when it’s on), and when he wants to be more extroversive
(When he’s not wearing the hat)
Ducks and Fish in Lagoon – The ducks symbolize the people who just run away
from their problems. The fish symbolize the people who stick it out and adapt
to the changes in their life.
Museum – Symbolizes that Holden doesn’t like change because he likes that
the museum never changes from when the last time you visited.
Themes with short description
Grief – Holden grieves over his deceased brother.
Loss of Innocence – Holden doesn’t want to see other children loose their
innocence and mature because he doesn’t want to see them suffer what he is
going through in his maturing process.
3 Important Quotes
“He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18th, 1946” (Pg.
“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Pg. 173)
“If they fall off, they fall off, but it’s bad if you say anything to them.” (Pg. 211)