Historical Information on the 1940s- (Bir)
The time period made a dramatic influence on Holden Caulfield's life during Catcher in the Rye. His teenage mindset determines some of the choices Holden makes throughout the book. The teenagers of the 1940s tried to stay young as long as they could unlike today's modern teenagers. The teens were housed for most of their teenager years; most girls were not allowed to date until at least age sixteen. Most teens after graduating high school enlisted into the army. Schooling quickly became important teaching not only regular school lessons but also life lessons. Common activities were playing sports, board games were growing in society, and dancing. Economically the 1940s were a prosperous time because of WWII. This gave jobs to many unemployed individuals. The country turned factories into war supply making factories instead of their original function. The average income per year in 1940 was $1,725.00 and by 1949 was $2,950.00. Holden's parents income was most likely much higher than this. Lawyers would make a greater amount than the average income.
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The 1940s music was greatly influenced by WWII. Big band and Jazz were the two most popular genres. Rhythm and Blues began to become popular and the beginnings of Rock and Roll were underway. Les Brown and Doris Day - Sentimental Journey

Powered by mp3skull.comDinah Shore - Buttons And Bows

Powered by mp3skull.comGlen Miller - When You Wish Upon A Star

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Top Songs of the 1940s
This link gives a chart similar to the Billboard top 100 with the top songs during the 1940s. This is valuable to the reader to relate to the music of the time period. This can help the reader better understand why Holden is unlike the other students and individuals.

Links for further information
1940s History

This is a great site for the reader to go to in order to find information regarding the 1940s. This website explains every aspect of the 40s from the sports to the war. The site gives vital information to help the reader understand the time period and the places Holden encounters.
1940 Teenage Life
This website gives an individuals input to how life was during the 1940s. Describing school life and what was learned. This is a valuable tool for a person studying this topic because it helps the reader understand how Holden's peers would act.
Difference in Teens
This link is to a student essay comparing the teens of 1940 to today's teens. This could help someone studying this topic by helping them understand the societal differences.
1940s Outline
This site outlines the history of the 1940s. This can be helpful to an individual studying this subject because they can attain a brief knowledge of the time period after using this site.
1940s Events and History
This site gives numbers for the cost of common items back in the 1940s. Gives the reader a new insight to how different the times were economically and through society.

Literary Elements- (Samonte)
At the beginning of the novel, Holden hints that he has been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown, the story of which is revealed over the course of the novel.

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Holden uses a lot of descriptive words in order to create imagery in this novel. An example of his imagery would be when he was pretending he was getting shot in the stomach.
Another example is the way that Holden describes people in his novel. He is trying to get us to portray people through his eyes and the way he sees it.

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Allot of symbolism can be found in “Catcher in the Rye.”

Red Hunting Hat: Holden's red hunting hat symbolises his individuality in life. Although he sees it as corny, he only puts it on in times when he seems to be alone or inadequate


Allie’s Baseball Mitt: Holden writes Straddler's composition on a baseball mitt. Stradlater gets frustrated with Holden and they end up getting in a fight over it. What Stradlater doesn’t know is that Holden’s brother Allie died prior to this event. Allie had a left-handed baseball mitt that he would write poetry on. Holden writing Straddler's composition about this shows that us that Allie took a great impression on Holden.


The Ducks in Central Park: Holden wonders where the ducks go in the winter when the pond in Central Park freezes over. The fact that they come back brings Holden some consolation, insomuch that the change in the pond is temporary. It also stands in contrast to the permanent loss he experiences with the death of Allie.

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The Irony about Holden in the book is that he always seems to self- contradict his “phony” statements. The book is filled with irony. Holden would hate something, and then he would give his reason for why he respects it afterward.

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The tone in Catcher in the Rye varies. It can start from Depressed and turn into Humor. One big part of the tone in Catcher in the Rye would be judgemental. Holden seems to judge everything he sees.

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Holden starts his journey slightly before his Christmas break. He finds himself traveling around New York city going to bars, clubs, and hotels.

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The major theme in this novel would be Individual Rebel. Holden seems to stick with this theme throughout the book. He finds that being an individual and being a rebel helps him fit into society easier and be more accepted.

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Holden faces many conflicts within the book. He finds himself fighting his roommate and arguing with a hustler. Although he faces many conflicts, his main conflict would seem to be with himself and his guilt with his deceased younger brother Allie. Allie can be found in Holden’s actions and subliminal thoughts and references throughout the book. Holden seems to be in a conflict with himself.

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Point of View

The point of view in the novel Catcher in the Rye would be a first person perspective from the main character Holden Caufield’s eyes.

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Character Analysis


Try to act tough
Inconsistent with feelings

Phoebe Caulfield

Holden's beloved little sister
Roller skate skinny


Allie Caufield

Died of leukemia when he was 11
Holden subliminally thinks of him and acts on it E.G. writes Stradlater’s composition on baseball gloves (Allie had a left handed baseball glove), Holden's red hunting hat (Allie had red hair) writes in green ink(Allie wrote in green ink)
Red hair
Holden gives clues out about Allie


Mr. Antolini

Young teacher
Close to Holden
Holden respects him
Holden uses him for guidance

Outside Elements- (Bir)

In the Catcher in the Rye Salinger mentions famous literary characters and other authors. During the novel he mentions names such as Isak Dineson’s Out of Africa, Somerset Maughm’s Of Human Bondage, Emily Dickenson, Ring Lardner and Gatsby. Out of Africa is a book about a narrator running a farm and becoming close with a certain individual. The book is happy throughout until problems arise. The narrators live including the farm slowly die off. She eventually loses the farm and leaves Africa in the end. Salinger most likely referenced this book because of the similarity within the two plots. If one knew of this book they could have a sense for what would happen to Holden, being that the narrator and Holden live similar lives of success to failure. Of Human Bondage is a book that one can easily relate to Holden and the Catcher in the Rye. The main character Philip is forced to live with his aunt and uncle after his parents both died over a couple months. He attends a boarding school and hates it, Philip then decides to go to Germany for school. On one of his returns home to see his aunt and uncle he has an affair with a close family friend of his aunt. This incident could be related to Holden’s encounters with the prostitute. The boy then travels all over Europe trying to find his place in society and fails to do so. Philip ends up giving up his hopes for travels and marries a girl that he thinks he impregnated. Salinger must likely used this reference to relate to Holden’s lonely and struggle to find himself within society. The main characters both struggle dealing with death which is another similarity. This reference tells us that Holden will struggle with death, fitting in, and becoming educated. Emily Dickinson can be related to Holden because of the two similarities in their personalities. Holden and Emily were both depressed and had hard times in life, which in probably why Salinger referenced her. Ring Lardner is a sports writer and uses a great deal of sarcasm in his writing. This is the direct reason Salinger would mention Lardner because Holden is very sarcastic himself. Gatsby from The Great Gatsby is a character who quickly becomes rich from the start of the novel. Holden is the opposite of this character and Holden would dislike Gatsby. Salinger uses this reference to point out the difference in Holden from others.


"Coming thro' the Rye" (1796)

Coming thro' the rye, poor body,
Coming thro' the rye,
She draiglet a' her petticoatie
Coming thro' the rye.

O, Jenny's a' wat, poor body;
Jenny's seldom dry;
She draiglet a' her petticoatie
Coming thro' the rye.

Gin a body meet a body
Coming thro' the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body -
Need a body cry?
Gin a body meet a body
Coming thro' the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body -
Need the warld ken?

The title was taken from a poem because it shows the real meaning of catcher in the rye compared to the meaning he thinks of. While Holden thinks he is going to catcher kids from growing up to fast the poem is actually about having casual sex. Holden is surrounded by a world of sex with bad terms being wrote all over. I think Salinger uses this title to show Holden’s indifference within the world. He misinterprets the poem and has trouble fitting in within others. He is too stuck on the idea of everyone and everything being fake without giving any chances.

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Further Information

Title Information

This link explains the title and the poems meaning. This could be helpful to someone studying this topic because they will understand the title after they read the information on this site.

Out of Africa Summary

This is a link to a summary of Out of Africa which is a book referenced in Catcher in the Rye. This would help a student understand Salinger's connection to Holden from this book.

Gastby Analysis

This is a link to a in depth analysis of Gatsby from the Great Gatsby. This link would help a student understand the character and how he can relate or cannot relate to Holden Caulfield.

Outside Elements

This is a link that also explains the outside elements from Catcher in the Rye. A student studying this topic could benefit because another view or outlook of the outside elements could help a student understand the connections more thoroughly.

External Aspects

This link gives a big list of connections made from outside elements that were used in Catcher in the Rye. The link then gives a further explanation of each aspect. This could help one studying this topic because they could see more connections than the ones listed in our section.

Ring Lardner

This link goes to a summary of Lardner. After reading this information one could understand why Salinger referenced him during Catcher in the Rye.

Of Human Bondage

This link summaries the book Of Human Bondage. An individual studying this topic would benefit from this because it gives the reader information on the book quickly and one could then relate the book to Holden.

Emily Dickinson

This link leads to a analysis of Dickinson's life. Including her poetry and her everyday life. After attaining this information one could easily relate her to Holden.



Topic Two (Murray)
The novel Catcher in the Rye was banned in many schools across the United States for its scandalous nature of the time period. The novel started to get popular and banned in the 1960's, but the novel was published in 1951. The World has changed since the 1960's and the book has had bans lifted against it, and is read in almost every school.

This website overviews the signaficant reasons to why it got banned, Such as frequent refrences to sex, alcohol and a form of rebellion toward his authorities.

This website gives a good background on J.D. Salinger's early life up until his publication of Catcher in the rye. It also gives a good image of what the society wa like when the book got published in 1951.
This website gives an entire overview of the contoversy, background and the basic overall history of the novel.
Timothy Aubry, the writer of this website, does a great job going indepth about the controversey. Timothy Aubry uses this website to go over the publication in 1951 until modern day society and challenges wether this society is still viewing Catcher in the rye as a controversial novel.
This article shows why Catcher in the Rye is a controversial novel but it also compares this novel to other controversial novels.
This website has background info on J. D. Salinger, but also goes into the perspective of the critics of the 1950's and 1960's and states why they thought it was controversial or not.
This website shows the long term controverial effects of the book, for example, the man who killed John Lennon had this book with him and said he read it earlier in the day.
This website gives a brief controversey history going from the publication until today and including things along the way, such as John Lennon's killer possibly being influinced by this novel to kill John Lennon.
This website uses the controversial aspect of the book to make connections to Salinger's person life, for example it says how Salinger's sister says how being part Jewish was hard, and this trouble could have caused Salinger to rub his anti-semitism views onto Holden's religious views.
This website shows how J. D. Salinger lived after he got tormented by releasing such a racy novel, in a review written after the book J. D. Salinger: A Life Kenneth Slawenski.

Topic Four (Murray)

Topic Four- Characterization (Murray)





Try to act tough


Inconsistent with feelings http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/The-Catcher-in-the-Rye-Character-Analysis-Holden-Caufield.id-53,pageNum-78.html

This Image shows a portrayal of Holden's red hunting hat and the background symbolizes his confused outlook on the world.

Phoebe Caulfield

Holden's beloved little sister
Roller skate skinny


Allie Caufield

Died of leukemia when he was 11
Holden subliminally thinks of him and acts on it E.G. writes Stradlater’s composition on baseball gloves (Allie had a left handed baseball glove), Holden's red hunting hat (Allie had red hair) writes in green ink(Allie wrote in green ink)
Red hair
Holden gives clues out about Allie


This image of Ron Weasly gives a good idea of what Allie looked like when he was younger because he had red hair.

Mr. Antolini

Young teacher
Close to Holden
Holden respects him

Holden uses him for guidance


This panting is plausible picture for what holden's reaction was to Mr. Antolini petting him.


Popular at pency prep
Holden refers to him as a secret slob
Holden and Stradlater have a fist fight which results in Holden leaving Pencey Prep


Ackley is annoying, according to Holden
Has a face full of acne, and is thought to have never brushed his teeth
Ackley is not a secret slob like Stradlater but a regular slob


Sunny is a prostitute
Only talks to Holden
This image portrays the scene of Holden and Sunny just talking.


Maurice is the bellhop who orders Sunny for Holden.
Is a moron according to Holden

D.B. Caufield

D.B. is Holden's older brother Has a collection of short stories that were published Has "sold out" according to Holden http://chjajagabl.blogspot.com/2008/08/character-analysis.html