-Jane Gallagher: A girl Holden used to spend a lot of time with one summer when their families were neighbors in Maine. She is important to Holden because she is one of the few girls he can find attractive and connect to.
-Allie Caulfield: Holden’s younger brother who died of leukemia three years ago. He was intelligent, red-headed, and friendly. Holden is still suffering from Allie’s death.
-Phoebe Caulfield: Holden’s 10 year old sister who he loves a lot. She listens and understands Holden more than anyone. She is intelligent, neat, a good dancer, and Holden admires her innocence. She recognizes that Holden is his own reason for isolation.
-Mrs. Caulfield: Holden’s mother who is still nervous and suffering from Allie’s death.
-Holden Caulfield: The main character and narrator of the novel. He is a 16 year old junior and he was expelled for failing Pencey Prep even though he is intelligent and sensitive. He always finds the negativity of the world around him and he tries to protect himself from the pain of adulthood. He isolates himself from the rest of the world and refuses to reach out.
-Mr. Antolini: Holden’s old English teacher at Elkton Hills High School, but now he teaches at NYU. He is young, clever, and likeable. Holden respects him and goes to him for advice. He started petting Holden’s head while he was sleeping, so Holden leaves and interprets this in a homosexual way.
-D.B. Caulfield: Holden’s older brother who is a screenwriter in Hollywood. He was a prostitute according to Holden because he sold out his great talent for writing in Hollywood. He was Holden’s favorite author. He used to be in the army for WWII.
-Mr. Spencer: Holden’s history teacher at Pencey Prep. He is old and ill. He tries to lead Holden to the right academic path, but it is unsuccessful.
-Carl Luce: He is one of the most intelligent people Holden knows because of his knowledge in sex. He was Holden’s student advisor at the Whooton School, but now he goes to Columbia. They drink at the Wicker Bar and try to have a conversation about sex. But, he tells Holden how immature he is and how he should get psychiatric help.
-Sally Hayes: According to Holden, she is an attractive, stupid girl who he used to date for a very long time. He thought she was very phony. He goes out on a date with her, but his mannerisms make him insult her and then she decides she wants to be away from Holden.
-Mrs. Morrow: An attractive woman who Holden meets on a train. He found out that she was the mother of Ernest, the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, but he decides to entertain her by lying about how her son is very popular.
-Sunny: A young prostitute Holden hires then rejects. She demanded a ten dollar payment even though Holden though it was only five dollars.
-James Castle-He went to Elkton Hills and said something about this guy so his friends beat him. Instead of taking it back, he committed suicide by jumping out of a window while he was wearing Holden’s turtleneck sweater.
-Maurice: The elevator operator at Edmont Hotel. He arranged the prostitute for Holden. He told Holden it was five dollars, but he wants ten dollars. So, he beats Holden even after he got the money.
-Ackley: Lives in the room next to Holden’s. He is annoying, disrespectful and has bad hygiene.
-Stradlater: Holden’s roommate and Pencey Prep. He is attractive and popular, but he’s secretly a slob. Holden gets mad at him for going out with Jane.
Symbols: Be able to identify and know the meaning of the following symbols:
1. The Duck Pond in Central Park:
The duck ponds in central park symbolize Holden’s confusion towards growing up. The duck ponds being partly frozen and partly not frozen refer to Holden’s in between state of being a child and an adult. Holden wonders if the ducks fly away on their own or if somebody saves them because he does not know if somebody will guide him through adulthood or if he will have to be all on his own. He is stuck in between and does not know where he belongs.
2. Holden’s Red Hunting Hat:
Holden’s red hunting hat symbolizes protection and individuality. Holden feels protected while wearing the hat because it makes him different from everybody else. But, he doesn’t wear the hat out in public too much because he feels self-conscious about it. Holden uses the hat as a tool to shield and isolate himself from the rest of the world. It also represents Holden’s struggles to find his true identity.
3. The Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History symbolizes Holden’s fear of growing up. The displays appeal to him because it’s frozen, simple, and unchanging. Holden hates how every time he visits the museum, there’s something different about him. Holden is afraid of change and he fantasizes about a simple world in which he is the “catcher” in so that kids would never change.
4. Allie’s Baseball Mitt:
The mitt symbolizes Holden’s love for Allie and his unique, friendly personality. It had poems written all over it in green ink because he would read them when he got bored on the baseball field.
The windows symbolized Holden’s need for social interaction. He would watch strangers through the window because it made him feel less depressed and lonely. The windows acted as a barrier, not allowing Holden to interact and socialize with the world. Holden wants to watch the world rather than participate in it, but he needs social interaction in order to live a healthy life.
6. Curse Words: “fuck”
The curse words symbolize Holden’s feeling towards children losing their innocence. He sees these curse words in a school and museum and he feels like killing the person that wrote them. Holden has a fear of kids being exposed to anything in the adult world that would harm their innocence because his goal to preserve children’s purity.
The carousel symbolizes Holden’s understanding of how children need to grow up. He watches Phoebe on the carousel and he’s afraid that she would fall while she’s reaching for the rings, but he realizes that he needs to let her fall. This relates to Holden’s fear of Phoebe growing up. He realizes that kids need to learn from themselves and he cannot save children from growing up because it is impossible.
Themes: Identify and describe the following themes:
1) Isolation vs. need for social interaction:
2) Phoniness of the adult world:
4) Coming of age:
Know the following terms:
-Apostrophe (How does Salinger use it?)
-Voyeurism (“Window Watchers” article):
-“Phony” (be able to give an example of something/someone Holden calls phony)
Holden uses the word “phony” to describe people that are insincere, not genuine, conceited, and self-centered. An example of someone phony is Mr. Haas. He thinks Mr. Haas is a phony because he always stood outside of the school charmingly shaking parents’ hands projecting an image of authority and perfection. But if he saw a kid with funny looking parents, he would judge and ignore them. Holden dislikes people who act a certain way just to please others and he also dislikes when people judge based on appearance.
Holden does not think Phoebe is phony because she has this purity and innocence in her that he wants to preserve. Unlike adults, he feels that children do not cause any danger because they are sincere and stay true to themselves. He feels that children are so much simpler than adults are, so he does not consider them phony.