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The Catcher in the Rye Study Guide

by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye study guide contains a biography of J.D. Salinger, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Holden Caulfield, the narrator of The Catcher in the Rye, begins with an authoritative statement that he does not intend the novel to serve as his life story. Currently in psychiatric care, this teenager recalls what happened to him last Christmas. This story forms the basis for his narrative. At the beginning of his story, Holden is a student at Pencey Prep School, irresponsible and immature. Having been expelled for failing four out of his five classes, Holden goes to see Mr. Spencer, his history teacher, before he leaves Pencey. Mr. Spencer advises him that he must realize that “life is a game” and one should “play it according to the rules,” but the sixteen-year-old, who has already left four private schools, dismisses much of what…

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