[[quoteright:336:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/catcher_rye_7408.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:336: A strangely creepy cover.]]

->''You know what I'd do, if I had a goddamn choice? I'd be [[TitleDrop the catcher in the rye]] and all.''

''The Catcher in the Rye'' is a 1951 novel by the late, reclusive author Creator/JDSalinger.

The story concerns Holden Caulfield, a smart but troubled kid who, after being expelled from his boarding school in December 1949, spends his time wandering [[BigApplesauce New York City]], mourning for the loss of innocence in children, and failing to understand the people that surround him. Holden himself can come off as a JerkWithAHeartOfGold as he [[{{Wangst}} unkindly judges almost everyone]], but as the book explores his underlying psychological issues and reaches its BittersweetEnding, Holden's true nature becomes apparent.

The book is considered one of the best novels of all time, is practically the textbook for [[PointOfView First-Person Narration]], and is regularly found in critical lists of the greatest English works of fiction. The novel is a frequent target of the MoralGuardians for its offensive language and nihilistic attitude. It is the most popular novel never to have been adapted into a movie.

----
!!Contains examples of:

* AmbiguousSituation: The scene where [[spoiler: Mr Antolini strokes Holden's sleeping head. It could be (as Holden thinks) a [[HoYay sexual pass]] or simply a misguided attempt at paternal affection.]]
* AntiHero: Holden is a Type IV/V (UnscrupulousHero / NominalHero).
* AuthorAvatar: Holden. J.D. Salinger stated that he would have allowed a stage adaptation of the work on the condition that he be allowed to play Holden, [[DawsonCasting despite being significantly older than Holden]] by the time this was a possibility.
** Although this may have been simply because Salinger didn't want a stage play made at all, as he implied he would allow a film adaptation to happen only upon his death, partly to provide for his children, and partly so he wouldn't have to see it. In his later novella "Seymour: An Introduction," narrator Buddy Glass implies authorship of ''Catcher'' and emphatically denies Holden is based on Buddy's elder brother Seymour. Both Seymour and Buddy have been suggested as the more likely AuthorAvatar of Salinger himself.
* BerserkButton: Holden seeing anyone engaging in "phony" behavior- mainly blatant hypocrisy- he complains about them at length in the narration.
* BigApplesauce
* BigBrotherInstinct
* BileFascination: A movie Holden goes to see is an in-universe example.
-->"It was so putrid I couldn't take my eyes off it."
* BittersweetEnding: Holden grows a little like the examples provided, but [[spoiler: he winds up catching tuberculosis and being incredibly sick for awhile.]]
* BlackSheep: Holden remarks that he's the only stupid one among his siblings.
* BookEnds: The first chapter reveals Holden's pathetic essay on the Ancient Egyptians. The last chapter show him teaching two little boys at a museum about the same subject.
* {{Bookworm}}: One of the ''very'' few things Holden unambiguously enjoys is reading.
* BrilliantButLazy: Holden.
* ByronicHero: Holden.
* CatchPhrase:
** Holden's favorite insult, "phony".
** The word "goddamn" which he uses 237 times in only 214 pages.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: And then they're not anymore.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Holden
* ComingOfAgeStory
* ConsummateLiar: Holden often makes up stories with people he meets. Often, it will be his age.
* CulturalRebel: Holden
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: Holden has a habit of repeating what he just said using a different order of words ''frequently''. That is, frequently, Holden will repeat himself but put the words in a different order. [[VerbalTic He really does.]]
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: A group of children are playing on "some crazy cliff," and Holden's task is to [[TitleDrop catch]] them before they fall off the edge. Imagining this, he wishes it could be his purpose. Never mind the entire mental construct is based on a {{Mondegreen}}. Most Salinger characters are hothouse flowers; to survive, they need a rare element... one which the world could never provide.
* TheEeyore: Phoebe challenges Holden to name one thing that he genuinely likes. Holden claims he can't concentrate enough to answer her question.
* EmoTeen: Holden, probable TropeCodifier.
* FirstGrayHair: Played with. Seventeen-year-old Holden acknowledges having a great deal of grey hair, but does not seem concerned by it, except as a means to disguise his age in order to buy alcohol. Nevertheless, it is listed as being one of his 'adult-qualities', which is significant considering the themes of the novel...
* FreudianExcuse: He [[SarcasmMode oh-so-subtly]] explains what his is, before deciding not to go into any detail on it as not to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] it. Of course, by saying so he invokes it anyway, so it's not so much averted as glossed over.
* FriendToAllChildren: Holden
* TheGhost: Several. Jane, D.B., Holden's parents, and Allie seem to be the most significant, though.
* {{Glurge}}: In-universe. Holden Caulfield has this reaction to a movie he watches and then describes for us readers. In the movie, an old duke loses his memory and then meets a nice lady with a brother whose nerves are shot who helps him publish a book and becomes a love interest for him. When his old blind mother and fiancee find him, they try to confirm his own identity for him, but the duke doesn't believe them. By the end, the duke regains his memory, is happily married to the nice lady, the brother has gotten his nerves back and has cured the duke's mother of her blindness. To top it all off, a dog they previously thought was male had puppies!
* GrowingUpSucks: Holden has this belief and this is part of his motivation for wanting to be a "catcher in the rye" so that he can protect children from awful phony stuff.
* HaveAGayOldTime: Holden frequently describes Stradlater as "sexy", and he remarks on his good looks more than once. In the 1950s, though, the term could still be taken to mean "obsessed with sex" (its original definition) rather than "sexually attractive". A more modern equivalent would be "horny".
* HoldingHands: Holden describes in detail how good it was to hold hands with Jane.
* HypocrisyNod
** Someone who hates movies as much as Holden claims to sure seems to watch a lot of them.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Holden, according to some. To others, a JerkSue. It's only too easy to get irritated by Holden's constant negativity. Still others see him as a JerkassWoobie.
* LackOfEmpathy: Holden doesn't like how a woman cares for fictional characters more than her own child.
* MaddenIntoMisanthropy
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Played straight to an extent. Holden is a virgin and is emotionally immature. He hires a prostitute named Sunny in order to lose his virginity but is too uncomfortable to have sex with her.
* MinimalisticCoverArt: Some popular versions of the book cover feature only the title and author's name on a blank field. The Italian version is white, while the English version is red.
* MisaimedFandom: [[invoked]]Holden does this with the song "Comin' Thru the Rye". It's actually about two lovers meeting in a field. Holden adopts it as an image of himself protecting children from their own inevitable maturity (especially sex) and phoniness (like, say, lying about where you're going and screwing some guy in a field instead). He [[{{Mondegreen}} mishears it]], after all.
** Interestingly, the word ‘rye’ might actually refer to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Garnock#Rye_Water Rye Water]] in Scotland. The poem then discusses a girl named Jenny who lets her petticoat down and get wet instead of holding it up while crossing it, so she can push away the boys who would run by to kiss the girls who would hold their petticoats on one hand and whatever they were carrying on the other instead, leaving no free hand to ward off the boys. Holden decided to interpret the word ‘rye’ [[IThoughtItMeant as actual rye]], which is the more ‘adult’ version, but misinterprets the meaning of the poem as talking about kids playing in a rye field.
* MoralGuardians: What Holden himself wants to ''be''--that is, the [[TitleDrop Catcher In The Rye]], a person who guards the innocence of children.
* TheMovieBuff: Phoebe loves them as much as Holden claims to hate them.
* NeverMyFault: Holden certainly isn't one for blaming himself for his troubles.
* NewMediaAreEvil: Holden hates movies and, throughout his life, Salinger blocked all attempts to make TheFilmOfTheBook. Which is ironic, as Salinger himself was a cinemaphile. The reason for that is because Salinger hated how the 1949 film ''My Foolish Heart'' (based on his short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut") came out. To date that film is the only authorized film adaptation of his work.
** One could argue it's not movies that Holden hates per se, it's (of course) the phoniness of Hollywood, particularly how he perceives his older brother D.B. as selling out, abandoning his more original, more creative work in favor of the more [[MoneyDearBoy lucrative business]] of writing screenplays.
* PlatonicProstitution: Holden hires a prostitute when he's at a hotel, but changes his mind when she arrives, and says that he just wants to talk. This doesn't work out; she becomes annoyed, demands more money than was originally agreed upon, and when Holden refuses to pay, she comes back with her pimp, who beats up Holden and takes the money.
* PrecisionFStrike: Despite a large amount of other profanities, there is only one appearance of an actual F-bomb in the last chapter, where Holden sees it in clearly visible graffiti and tries to cover it up, because he doesn't want kids to see it. A very good example of how the word can be appropriately shocking when used correctly.
* PunchAWall: Holden mentions that after his brother died, he smashed every window in the garage with his bare hands. He also tried to knock out the family station wagon windows, but by then, his hands were too broken.
* RapeAsBackstory: Perhaps not rape, but something similar that isn't explored. This is [[LemonyNarrator strange considering the narrator]].
-->"When something perverty like that happens, I start sweating like a bastard. That kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid."
* RuleOfSymbolism: Holden's little sister, who to him is the epitome of what he's trying to protect, is named Phoebe. This is an epithet of [[ClassicalMythology Artemis]], who is occasionally associated with the moon; in its male form, "Phoebus", it is also an epithet her twin brother Apollo, who is associated with the sun. The prostitute Holden hires, who is one of the apexes of the things Holden ''hates'', is named Sunny.
** Artemis is also the goddess of maidenhood and innocence. On the other hand, Apollo, god of the sun, was known for having many affairs with women, like most Greek gods.
* SecurityBlanket: His hunting cap can be seen as this, in that he's constantly putting it on and taking it off only when he's in a situation where he knows he will be mocked for wearing it.
* SirSwearsALot: Holden ''loves'' to swear. In this 214-page story, Holden uses the word "goddamn" 237 times.
* SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers: Both Mr. Antolini and Phoebe try to get across to Holden that much of his unhappiness is self-inflicted, and just as [[ItsAllAboutMe narcissistic]] as all the "phonies" he rails against.
* TheSnarkKnight: Holden, possibly.
* SlidingScaleOfPlotVersusCharacters: '''Way''' on the character side.
* SoapPunishment: Holden Caulfield tries asking Ward Stradlater if Stradlater gave Jane Gallagher the time. That, by the way, is old slang for having sex with someone. Stradlater responds "What a thing to say. Want me to wash your mouth out with soap?"
* StylisticSuck: Very accurately done with Holden's one-paragraph essay on the ancient Egyptians.
-->''The Egyptians were an ancient race of Caucasians residing in one of the northern sections of Africa. The latter as we all know is the largest continent in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Egyptians are extremely interesting to us today for various reasons. Modern science would still like to know what the secret ingredients were that the Egyptians used when they wrapped up dead people so that their faces would not rot for innumerable centuries. This interesting riddle is still quite a challenge to modern science in the twentieth century.''
* TitleDrop: The page quote above.
* ThisLoserIsYou
* UnreliableNarrator: Holden, again. It's worth noticing that while his ''narration'' is hilarious, his spoken dialogue is an apex of TheComicallySerious and morbidity.
* UnusualEuphemism: When Stradlater has sex with a girl, Holden refers to it as "giving her the time". It was [[GetTheeToANunnery much dirtier]] in the time period this book is set in.
* VerbalTic:
** Holden has one. He really does.
** Holden has a rather annoying habit of calling people "Old" before their name (Old Phoebe, Old Stradlater, etc).
** He also has a tendency to say "and all" at the end of his sentences.
** "That killed me." Given the situation it's actually a little thought-provoking.
** His frequent use of 'goddamn' and asserting that various people are 'phonies' verge on CatchPhrase territory.
** "I'm not kidding"
** "If you want to know the truth..."
** "Boy..."
* VinylShatters: Holden accidentally shatters a LP he was going to give to his sister Phoebe. It was almost definitely a shellac 78, which are known to shatter.
* WhamLine: The first time Holden speaks at length about his brother Allie, he talks tenderly about how his little brother loved baseball and had a favorite catcher's mit that he always used when playing. Then he finishes the paragraph with this:
-->"Anyway, he's dead now."
* YoungerThanTheyLook: 17-year-old Holden Caulfield is 6'2" and has gray hairs. As such, [[InformedAbility he claims]] he can easily pass as an adult. But he's more often called out on being a minor than he is successfully able to pass.
** Sunny, for example, not only wouldn't believe he was 22, but may have also compared him to 13-year-old Freddie Bartholomew from the 1937 movie ''Captains Courageous''.

----