The Catcher in the Rye

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Multiple Critical Perspectives

Teaching J.D. Salinger's

The Catcher in the Rye from Multiple Critical Perspectives by Stephanie Polukis

Multiple Critical


The Catcher in the Rye

General Introduction to the Work

Introduction to The Catcher in the Rye



The CaTCher in The rye was published in 1951, the book has received mixed reviews. While sev-

eral critics commend Salinger’s thorough development of the narrator, the realistic use of vernacular

in the narration, and the accurate portrayal of post-World War II teenage life, others feel that the novel is perverse and immoral. In fact, The Catcher in the Rye was on the public school’s banned book list for its use of profane language, depiction of underage drinking, and sexual allusions. However, regardless of the challenges to the novel, the book was a New York Times Bestseller for thirty weeks, and remains popular in the twenty-first century. While the novel in its present form is roughly 214 pages long, the story evolved from short stories published by J.D. Salinger in the 1940s. “I’m Crazy,” published by Collier’s magazine in 1945, developed into the conversation with Mr. Spencer in Chapter 2 and Holden’s visit to Phoebe in Chapters 22 and 23. While the story features Holden, the Spencers, and Phoebe, it also includes Jeanette—the housekeeper— and Viola—Holden’s youngest sister, who have both been omitted from the novel. Salinger’s “Slight Rebellion Off Madison,” published in the New Yorker in 1946, developed into Chapters 17 and 19 of the novel, and it featured early prototypes of Sally Hayes, and Carl Luce. In addition, The Catcher in the Rye was originally to be published as a 99 page novella in 1946, but Salinger backed out of the agreement with the publishing company and published the book as a full-length novel in 1951. Even though the book is…...

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