From Holden's Hat, A Catcher in the Rye encyclopedia anyone can roam around in the rye...

In the Catcher in the Rye, the novel contains so much more that the plot. The novel contains content that would exist in real life such as other novels, and films and locations with fictional characters. Poems, plays, songs are also mentioned as well. Some of these references would defiantly relate to Holden because of how he feels of each item such as that he thinks movies are "phonies" as well as books to be liked. Some elements and references are so important to the novel that the fact that this builds the plot and the meaning for this novel, such as the title of the novel and locations. Due to the popularity of this novel, there has been so much spark, positive and negative, which has made this novel in the spot of attention such as the people who used the book as being influenced because of Holden, and the fact many people tried to visit Salinger, mainly to get permission to create a film.

Central Park

Novels Holden Read

Holden is a person who loves to read novels, unlike movies which he thinks is "phony". Starting from Chapter 3, these are several books that Holden reads.

Although these books don't tell so much and that they are only mentioned, they have somewhat of a huge impact because this is part of Holden's personality and what he likes. The novel The Return of the Native By Thomas Hardy is important since the relationship of women in that novel is similar to Holden's feelings of women. Out of Africa By Isak Dinesen was the first novel to be mentioned since this is a novel which Holden received from the school by accident.

As you browse through the plots and authors of these novels, it is clearly shown that Holden likes Modernist books or books that are way of the past such as very old poems. He likes adventure in stories as well as books with interest, even if he says that he is "quite illiterate". Some stories are about love or loneliness and they can greatly relate to Holden's thoughts, conflicts and personality.


Other Literature Works Mentioned

Beowulf: Medieval epic poem written in Old English. For further information, see the Beowulf Study Guide.
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

David Copperfield: Great coming-of-age novel written by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Dickens based the book in part on the difficult early years of his own life. For further information, see the David Copperfield Study Guide.

Hamlet: Shakespeare play that Holden Caulfield, his brother D.B., and his sister Phoebe saw in 1948. For complete information on the play, see the Hamlet Study Guide .

Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's play that Holden Caulfield discusses with nuns. Holden thinks that this play is too sexy but the content that is interesting is the fighting which is part of the action. For complete information on this play, see the Romeo and Juliet Study Guide .

Films/ Movie Stars/ Music/ Plays Mentioned In Book

Robert Donat
Holden has different feelings of these popular cultural entertainment types. For each, Holden thinks differently about each one and how he feels. For movies and actors, these are mentioned but yet Holden says that he doesn't like them and they are phones because they are acting in a a way that doesn't seem real to him. However yet he still watches these movies or plays just because he goes into it such as to have company like in Chapter 5 with Ackley to the movies and Chapter 17 with Sally Hayes to an act. Music also makes a big impact to this book because one song mentioned below greatly relates to the title and music at this time of the 1940's goes well with the novel setting.

Gary Cooper first stared in the movie "The Naked Edge"
"Little Shirley Beans" by Estelle Fletcher, was a record that Holden wanted to buy for his little sister Pheobe. Estelle Fletcher was a real singer in the 30's but never performed this song. It was a made up song title by J.D. Salinger.

The 39 Steps stared Robert Donat a English film and stage actor who was famous for his roles in Alfread Handcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr. Chips for which he won an Academy Award for best actor. Used to be Phoebe's favorite movie.

Baker's_Wife[1].jpgThe Bakers Wife is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and Joseph Stein based on the French film La Femme du Boulanger by Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono. While firmly establishing a dedicated Cult following, the musical has yet to achieve a Broadway production. Phoebe's current favorite movie.

Alfred Lunt

I Know My Love: This Broadway play, by S.N. Behrman (1893-1973), opened on November 2, 1949, and closed on June 3, 1950. It is the play that Holden Caulfield attends with Sally Hayes. It starred the popular husband-wife acting team of Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne.

Ziegfeld Follies: Stage show featuring music, beautiful chorus girls, comedians, and elaborate sets. Florenz Ziefeld debuted his
Image of what Holden's prostitute (Sunny), might look like
follies in New York in 1907.

Lunts: Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne are famous actors that were in a play in Chapter 17 in which Holden and Sally saw and performed on Broadway.

Poetry: This was used mainly for Allie's written poems on his baseball mitt. Included are several famous authors like Emily Dickinson.

Comin' Through the Rye: This is a song sung by a little boy who runs on the street carelessly that cheers Holden up on his way to the park. This later becomes important towards the end of the story since he wants to be a "Catcher in the Rye". This has to do with children blinded by rye and not realizing the adult world ahead them and a cliff. So Holden would be a catcher and prevent the children from falling off the rye. However in Chapter 22, Phoebe says that Holden misheard the lyrics which he heard "If a body catch a body comin' through the rye", it was actually "If a body meet a body comin' through the rye"

Outside Cultural References

The Atlantic; Although this is the 1st cover, this wouldn't be the appearance of the cover of the 1940's

Atlantic Monthly: This is an American Magazine that is about literature, political science and foreign affairs. Holden mentions that this magazine was read by his history teacher Mr. Spencer.

LaSalle: Luxury car manufactured by Cadillac between 1927 and 1940.

Jitterbug: In the 1940's and 1950's, a lively dance in which a partner did twirls, lifts, or splits while holding one or both of the other partner's hands.

The Tin Roof Blues: A popular song in the novel whistled by Holden's old roommate by Louis Armstrong
Tin Roof Blues- The Harlem Ramblers

Song of India: Around Chapter 4, Stradlater whistles this song while he preps himself for his date with Jane while shaving.
Youtube: Song of India

"I Know My Love": This is the play that Holden went to see with Sally which she loves

Tropic Thunder: The character in the movie played by Danny McBride Refers to the book Tropic Thunder as his Catcher in the Rye

"Screw Up": The word screw up is used several times and it became popularized.

Prostitutes; they arent meant for conversations

Screenshot of the Movie; Tropic Thunder

...nuns on the other hand are


Museum of Natural History: A famous museum in New York City were Holden went to go look for his sister, she only goes there on Saturdays,
New York City at Night
Holden feels that people will change but the museum doesn't. This place become really important in showing Holden's progressed character since he is in fear of changing into an adult and wants to stay as a child as well as other children.

New York City: Setting were most of the book takes place.

Central Park: New York, New York. a place were Holdens talks a lot about, used to visit when he was younger and spends the night there after running away from Antolini.

Biltmore: World-famous luxury hotel between 43rd and 44th Streets in New York. In 1942, the Biltmore hosted a meeting of Jewish leaders in which David Ben-Gurion announced a resolution supporting the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) later became the first prime minister and first defense minister of Israel after it was established in 1948. The Biltmore Hotel was converted into the Bank of America Plaza Building, beginning in 1981.

El Morocco: World-famous nightclub on East 54th Street, between Second and Third Avenues. Its main room was decorated in a zebra-stripe pattern.

Stork Club: World-famous nightclub at 3 East 53rd Street. It opened in 1929 and closed in 1965.

Central Park Zoo: Although this place is not heard of if you are still reading the novel, this place is which Holden and Phoebe go to. Phoebe wanted to go to this place but Holden denies and tells her to go to school but has no choice but to let her go and go with her.

Museum of Natural History: Around Manhattan in New York City

New York Taxi
New York Taxi
The Stork Club in 1944

Attempted Film Adaptions & Attempted Works

Failed Attempts and the Novel's Rights

There have been multiple attempts to make this novel become a film. J.D. Salinger first thought of this idea but later rejected it because the film: My Foolish Heart from Salinger's short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut was released. The filmmakers took the plot of that story and put it on film and it did not get even close to matching the story. Therefore, Salinger refused a movie for the Catcher in the Rye because he feared in a mess of the movie that wouldn't match the novel.

However, this did not stop filmmakers from rushing up to Salinger and repeatedly asking him to make a film. If films were to be made, they had to go through he process of
Salinger himself. Sam Goldwyn, the producer of My Foolish Heart wrote a letter in which he wanted to produce the film. Salinger has made deals of that he should play Holden Caulfield and if he didn't then he would say to cancel and forget the idea. The novel's right were owned by Salinger himself and they were enforced ever since.

There have been many people who tried to play the role of Holden Caulfield but Salinger (and others as well) believed that they were not fit at all to play this role. People such as Jerry Lewis attempted multiple times to take this role but failed because he never read the novel in his adolescent or young adult years. Other celebrities and filmmakers who attempted but failed to make an actual and original film but failed include Marlon Branco, Jack Nicholson, Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and so many more.

Making major adaptions, whether films, plays or documented television shows is a violation of infringing the novel's rights. Salinger mainly did this because he didn't want anybody to make a live adaption without his permission, just because he wanted the movie to be original and that that image of the novel won't get destroyed. Unless it goes the way and style that Salinger wants, ideas from other people will always get rejected. Examples include a Broadway by Elia Kazan and several more attempts by Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg were also denied. Failure to not infringe the rights cause possibly lead to charges such as the TV show of The Big Read which
Igby Goes Down Movie Poster
discussed about films. This was a close call with no charges filed when the show claimed to be showing a "literary review"

Similar Films, Films Indirectly About the Novel & Parodies

Although film makers are prohibited to make a direct plot about the novel, people have created films that indirectly follow the plot as well as unique creations. These don't violate any rights at all because although they use references that can relate to the multiple works, it is not a "Catcher in the Rye" film such as if the main character had the same personality as Holden or their conflicts are the same. Films that have been made include a list here on Wikipedia. Songs, novels, television shows, plays and even comics were made similar to, have reference or can be compared to the novel. Such media may include symbols such as a baseball mitt which can relate to Holden. One such film called Conspiracy Theory is a fictional film about how people like Mark David Chapman were brainwashed to buy The Catcher in the Rye and commit severe crimes, mainly murderers.
Conspiracy Theory Movie Poster

One film named Igby Goes Down was originally supposed to be a novel. The plot of the movie relates to the book in terms of generic conflict but not in terms of detail. The main character. The character Igby is a seventeen year old teen who rejects his life and doesn't like anything around him, wanting to rebel and escape his horrific life just like Holden. Igby would additionally fail at numerous prep schools just like Holden but being threatened to join the military relates to J.D. Salinger's life. Director and screenwriter Burr Steers said the novel is an autobiography, not a direct influence or direct plot, like the novel. This film has had many positive reviews but this work is the film that is closest and similar to the novel itself.

Several parodies have been made in terms of recreation or brief references. In the television show Family Guy, two parodies or references have been made. In "The Kiss Seen Around the World", there is a character who constantly calls several people, mainly Peter a phony and the show's ending credits has the name "Holden Caulfield". In the episode Peterotica when Peter starts to write erotic novels, a short newsflash screenshot of one novel called "Catch Her in the Eye" is a silly parody to Salinger's title of his novel.

Youtube: The Kiss Seen Around The World: Big Fat Phony

Negative Influence

Main Article: History of the Novel

Although the novel may seem positive to others, it was obviously negative due to it's content. The novel was popular to teenagers yet way too inappropriate making people think that the abnormal acts Holden commits is a bad image for teens. To make matters worse, the novel negatively influenced several people to do worse and commit insane acts. Below is an example of these people involved.

Mark David Chapman: The murderer of John Lennon in 1980,was obsessed with the novel and even read it in court.

John Hinckley Jr: The man who tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981, also had a copy in his possession.


  2. Catcher Outside References
  3. Catcher in the Rye Wikipedia
  4. Conspiracy Theory
  5. Slang: "Screw Up"
  6. Comin' Through the Rye (Lyrics)