As an avid reader, I love it when I learn new facts about the books I’m reading for example, facts about “The Catcher In The Rye.” My class studied this novel my senior year and I fell in love with it. Holden Caulfield is an unforgettable character with his talk of phonies and search for innocence. These are some facts about “The Catcher In The Rye” that I found interesting!
1. Holden Caulfield
The first fun fact about “The Catcher In The Rye” is Holden’s name: Holden Caulfield. Through his analogy of wanting to save the children at play in the rye field from falling off the cliff, it’s apparent that Holden has difficulty accepting that change from childhood to adulthood. The word “caul” means the protective membrane above a fetus’ head in utero. If you look at his name again, you see Hold-on Caul-field. His whole character wants to hold on to that childhood innocence portrayed by the field example. Talk about a clever name for the character!
“The Catcher In The Rye” was originally banned in many schools across the country. Administrators and parents both believed that Holden’s act of engaging a prostitute was completely immoral for teens to be exposed to. What’s more, the vulgarity of the language kept many parents at bay. Not every school has lifted the ban though. To me, the ban means high school students missing out on an authentic book full of life’s adjustments and accepting them.
Time magazine lists this book as one of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. While not all school boards could see the value of this story, Time could. And I’m so happy about that! This book is one of my favorites and I think it’s important for today’s generation to read it. This recognition only highlights that. So if you haven’t read this book yet you better go check it out!
4. Flat Characters
“The Catcher In The Rye” is full of flat characters, or characters that make no changes from the tale’s start to finish. Take, for instance, James Castle who’s whole existence is his suicide. I was reading some critiques on the novel and a thought-provoking idea was presented by Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretation on “The Catcher In The Rye.” The characters themselves aren’t that important; however, what is important is Holden’s perception of them. It tells us a lot about the way this character thinks. For example, his fascination with James Castle’s suicide talks about Holden’s own depressed nature.
5. Man of a Few Words
Holden’s story may be vast but his vocabulary is repetitive. He uses the same words or phrases over and over again. Take, for instance, “phony” which is said 35 times in the book. “Crazy” is said 77 times. That’s crazy! And “goddam” is said a whopping 245 times! And these are just a few of his catch-phrases.
We’ve all heard the stories of how J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected and she was told that would make no money selling children’s stories. Lesser known is that J.D. Salinger had a similar reaction with “The Catcher In The Rye.” He was told that Holden was an unbelievable character which readers would have a tough time connecting with. Boy were they wrong! The book has sold over 65 million copies and is a classic.
7. Linked to Crime
This novel is linked to various crimes from John Lennon’s assassination to Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt. Mark David Chapman, who killed Lennon, was found by authorities with a copy of “The Catcher In The Rye” in his hands. He claimed the book provided the answer as to why he committed the crime. Likewise, investigators found a copy of the book in the hotel room of John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate Reagan.
“The Catcher In The Rye” is an incredible read of a teenager rebelling against the unspoken shift from childhood innocence to the phoniness of adulthood. These are some fun facts that I find eye-opening to keep in mind while reading the novel. What did you find most interesting?