Boekverslag : J.d. Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
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J.D. Salinger


The Catcher in the Rye


The Penguin Group



First publication



The story start's at the last night from Holden at Pencey, a Boarding School he is at. He has been kicked out of school because he didn't have good marks. It's almost Christmas and he supposed to go home in the vacation on Wednesday. He decides to go a few days earlier to New York, where his parents live, but he doesn't go home, because he doesn't want his parents to know he has been kicked out of school again, since it happened before. He takes the first train to New York and checks in at some hotel downtown. That night he goes to Ernie's, a nightclub. He has been there before with his Brother D.B. and he likes the place because he can get booze there, he's only 16 years old. At the club, he dances the whole evening with a blond girl, but she's only interested in celebrities so he goes back to the hotel. At the hotel, the elevator-boy, called Maurice, says that he's a pimp and that he can arrange him a five-dollar whore. He takes the deal and a few minutes later the whore, named Sunny, arrives at his room. He was very excited because he thought that he could loose his virginity that night, but when she takes her sweater off, he realizes that he doesn't feel sexy or something so he sends her away after he paid her. She want's ten dollar instead of the five dollar he had arranged with the elevator-boy. He doesn't give her the ten dollar and a few minutes later, she comes back with Maurice. He still doesn't want to pay and Maurice smacks him two punches in his face. Holden starts to cry. He pays now. Sunny and Maurice leave and Holden goes to bed. The morning after, he gives Sally, his formal girlfriend, a call and they go see a theater-show at two 'o clock. They spend the whole afternoon together and after the show the go ice-skating. Later, in a bar, he tells her he wants to go to the woods with her and get a job so that they can merry each other. He was really serious. Sally didn't want to go and he called her a 'serious pain in the ass'. She really 'hit the ceiling' when he said that and she ran away. He felt lonely. He phoned an old friend of him to get a drink together that night. They meet in some bar downtown. It isn't going well between them and after a while, and some (alcoholic) drinks, Holden's friend, Carl Luce, leaves. Holden stays at the bar. He drinks a lot that night and he gets really drunk. When he's drunk, he calls Sally to apologize for his behavior that afternoon. He screws it up. She tells him he's really drunk and he really is. He goes to Central Park to go to the lake. He stays there for a while trying to find the ducks in the lake, but when he gets conscious again, he goes to his parents house, to sneak in and go to Phoebe, his ten year old sister. It seems that his parents aren't home and they talk a lot. He really likes Phoebe and she is very surprised to see him in the middle of the night. Suddenly their parents come home and Holden hides in the closet. When his parents are in bed, he leaves and goes to Mr. Antolini, a formal teacher from him who is a very good friend of Holden. Holden tells him the whole story. He may sleep there that night, but when Holden wakes up at a moment, he sees mister Antolini feeling at him so he gets out of his house as soon as possible. He goes to the station and stays there for the rest of the night. He decides to run away and he writes Phoebe a letter. It says that he will run away to the west and that she has to come to the park after her school. He brings it to her school. When she comes, she is carrying suitcases with her; she wants to go with him. He tells her that is not possible and they got an argument. It causes him to let go of the idea and they make up. Holden'll go home with Phoebe.


The perspective in the book is at Holden Caulfield.


The main character is Holden Caulfield. He's a sixteen-year old boy and just got kicked out of another Boarding School: Pencey. His father is a lawyer and he's pretty rich. Holden has a pretty big mouth to other people and that brings him in danger sometimes. He once got a punch from his roommate for calling him a moron all the time. He's afraid of people. He hates 'phonies', people who have an attitude. Holden liked his younger brother Allie, who died when Holden was a kid. He also swears a lot, using words like 'goddam and damn'. The minor characters are Ward Stratlater (a roommate at Pencey), Robert Ackley (also a roommate at Pencey), Jane Callagher (one of Holden's friends from the past), D.B. Caulfield (his brother), Phoebe Caulfield (his sister), Mr. Antolini (his teacher) and Sally Hayes (she used to be his girlfriend).


The book has 192 pages. The told time is about four days. The book has no flashbacks, although Holden tells you about some things what happened in the past but you don't really witness them.


The story takes place in New York City.


I don't think the book is exciting or something like that. It's a very realistic book. Usually I don't like realistic books too much, but this one is different. I kind of liked it.

Theme and motives

The theme of the book is how you can be honest and to go your own way and at the same time be useful in the 'adults-world', witch isn't always fair and sincere. The theme is put in the book in the form of Holden Caulfield. He tries to act like an adult, but he can't stand the hypocrisy and the insincere witch he finds in the 'adults-world'. He's afraid to grow up and lose his innocence and honesty, but he realizes he can't be a kid for the rest of his life. This problem causes a crisis in his life.

Connection between title and theme

The title can be explained as this: Holden want's to be the 'catcher in the rye' when he grows up. That means somebody who's catching playing kids when they fall of a cliff. The connection between the title and the theme is that Holden want's to rescue kids who will fall from their innocent 'kids-life' into the world of the adults.

Kind of book

The book is a (realistic) novel.


I think the book is a very nice book because it is so realistic. You've been put into the mind of Holden, a boy who lives on the streets of New York for a few days. You get really into the book. I really like it. The language is American English and it's the language you hear in movies and American series a lot. It is easy to understand and I like it a lot.

Connection between other books

I think the main connection between this book and 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Cry, the beloved country' is, the realism which is in all of the three books I've read. I don't think that there are any other connections between this book and the other two books.

I didn't know what kind of novel it was when I rent it in the library so I can't say if my expectation has come true.
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