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Introduction & Overview of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

This Study Guide consists of approximately 96 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Catcher in the Rye.
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The Catcher in the Rye Summary & Study Guide Description

The Catcher in the Rye Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study on The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Introduction

Although The Catcher in the Rye caused considerable controversy when it was first published in 1951, the book—the account of three disoriented days in the life of a troubled sixteen-year-old boy—was an instant hit. W ithin two weeks after its release, it was listed number one on The New York Times best-seller list, and it stayed there for thirty weeks. It remained immensely popular for many years, especially among teenagers and young adults, largely because of its fresh, brash style and anti-establishment attitudes—typical attributes of many people emerging from the physical and psychological turmoil of adolescence.

It also was the bane of many parents, who objected to the main character's obscene language, erratic behavior, and antisocial attitudes. Responding to the irate protests, numerous school and public libraries and bookstores removed the book from their shelves. Holden simply was not a good role model for the youth of the 1950s, in the view of many conservative adults. Said J. D. Salinger himself, in a rare published comment, "I'm aware that many of my friends will be saddened and shocked, or shock-saddened, over some of the chapters in The Catcher in the Rye. Some of my best friends are children. In fact, all my best friends are children. It's almost unbearable for me to realize that my book will be kept on a shelf out of their reach." The clamor over the book undoubtedly contributed to its popularity among the young: It became the forbidden fruit in the garden of literature.

For some reason—perhaps because of the swirling controversies over his written works—Salinger retreated from the New York literary scene in the 1960s to a bucolic New Hampshire community caned Cornish, where he has lived a very private life and avidly avoided the press. Despite the fact that he has granted few interviews, there is a substantial body of critical and biographical works about Salinger and his all-too-brief list of literary creations.

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This section contains 330 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Catcher in the Rye Study Guide
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The Catcher in the Rye from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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