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The Catcher in the Rye

By J. D. Salinger (11)

In this melancholy coming-of-age novel by J. D. Salinger, young Holden Caulfield, having experienced an emotional breakdown, narrates his story from a sanatorium. Having done poorly at school, The Catcher in the Rye details a series of unsuccessful experiences, as the protagonist fights with another student, and then boards a train to New York City just before Christmas break. He registers at a hotel, engages in aimless and disturbing encounters, and recalls a past relationship with Jane Gallagher, the girl of his first and only romance. He makes several half-hearted attempts with women, visits a former teacher, and finally sneaks home to his family’s apartment in the city. Holden tells his younger sister Phoebe that he has been kicked out of school, and is planning to leave home, prompting a despondent response from his sister. Holden’s hope of cheering up his sister propels the final scene, in which Phoebe rides the carousel in Central Park, which arouses a distinct feeling of happiness in Holden. As he closes his story, he expresses cautious optimism about the new school he will attend when he leaves the hospital. Several generations of adolescent readers have identified with Holden, and his youthful sense of alienation will resonate with students.

Multiple Critical Perspectives: The Catcher in the Rye (eBook) cover

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Activity Pack: The Catcher in the Rye (eBook) cover

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AP Teaching Unit: The Catcher in the Rye (eBook) cover

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Response Journal: The Catch...Prestwick HousePWH20121933 Pages, Grades 7 - 12

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