The Catcher in the Rye

Writing style

The Catcher in the Rye is narrated in a subjective style from the point of view of Holden Caulfield, following his exact thought processes. There is flow in the seemingly disjointed ideas and episodes; for example, as Holden sits in a chair in his dorm, minor events, such as picking up a book or looking at a table, unfold into discussions about experiences.

Critical reviews agree that the novel accurately reflected the teenage colloquial speech of the time.[15] Words and phrases that appear frequently include:

  • "Phony" – superficial and pretentious
  • "That killed me" – I found that hilarious or astonishing
  • "Flit" – homosexual
  • "Crumbum" – inadequate, insufficient, and/or disappointing
  • "Snowing" – sweet-talking
  • "I got a bang out of that" – I found it hilarious or exciting
  • "Shoot the bull" – have a conversation containing false elements
  • "Give her the time" – sexual intercourse
  • "Chew the fat" – small-talk

Spoken pauses, such as "and all", "I really did" pepper the narration as well as Holden's dialogue.


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.