The Catcher in the Rye

The Etymology and Symbolism of Characters' Names

Catcher in the Rye's pallid cover, adorned only with seven multicolored bands in its upper-left corner, is not what one would call eye-catching. Its reverse side lacks criticisms or reviews of any sort; in fact, it is bare of anything except a copyright date. Human beings are advised not to judge books by their covers, rather that they should look further than the obvious and try to apprehend the implied meaning. The world has peered past Catcher in the Rye's cover, cracked its pure, uniform shell of cardboard and discovered the novel of a decade, a story that has now made the name "Holden Caulfield" synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Within the novel, however, there are more "books" into which we can read a bit more deeply - the characters. It seems quite obvious that their personalities correspond with the root meanings of their names. Would brilliant author J.D. Salinger pick the name "Holden" for the protagonist without reason? Analysis uncovers connections between themes and mannerisms that are far too relevant to have been coincidental. Holden Caulfield, his younger sister Phoebe, and a cast of minor characters such as Ackley, James Castle, Carl Luce, Faith Cavendish, and...

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