The Catcher in the Rye Characters
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye book cover
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The Catcher in the Rye Characters

The main characters in The Catcher in the Rye include Holden Caulfield, Phoebe Caulfield, Mr. Antolini, Jane Gallagher, and Allie Caulfield. 

  • Holden Caulfield is the narrator who describes spending a few days in New York.
  • Phoebe Caulfield is Holden's younger sister. She loves Holden and is supportive of him.
  • Mr. Antolini is Holden's former English teacher who invites Holden to stay with him when Holden visits New York.
  • Jane Gallagher is Holden's good friend. He has many fond memories of their time together. He often tries to call her but fails.
  • Allie Caulfield is Holden’s deceased younger brother. Holden often imagines having conversations with him.

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Characters

Holden Caulfield

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is narrated by Holden Caulfield, the jaded, brash, and irreverent protagonist. Holden is a 17 year old who has been admitted into a psychiatric hospital in California. While there, he details the events following his expulsion from Pencey Prep School. Holden is afraid of returning to his parents early. He decides to spend the last three days until his school break wandering New York before returning to his parents. During his time in New York City, he seeks companionship and understanding, but is often unsuccessful. (Read extended character analysis of Holden Caulfield.)

Phoebe Caulfield

Phoebe Caulfield is Holden’s younger sister. Phoebe is Holden's favorite person and the only one he can truly communicate with. In contrast to his jaded outlook, Phoebe's perspective is amusing and refreshing, and she is also emotional and affectionate. (Read extended character analysis of Phoebe Caulfield.)

Mr. Antolini

Mr. Antolini is Holden’s English teacher from his previous school, Elkton Hills. Mr. Antolini is young, intelligent, and suave, with a nice home in New York City. He has a propensity for smoking and drinking. Holden calls him up in the middle of the night to ask for help. Mr. Antolini readily invites Holden to his home to stay the night on his couch. After Holden arrives, Mr. Antolini’s wife serves Holden coffee before going to bed, and Mr. Antolini stays up with Holden to talk with him. (Read extended character analysis of Mr. Antolini.)

Minor Characters

Allie Caulfield | Carl Luce | D.B. Caulfield | Ernest Morrow | Faith Cavendish | Horwitz | James Castle | Jane Gallagher | Lillian Simmons | Maurice | Mr. Spencer | Mrs. Morrow | Ossenburger | Robert Ackley | Sally Hayes | Sunny | Three Women from Seattle | Two Nuns | Ward Stradlater

Allie

Allie Caulfield was Holden’s younger brother. Allie died of leukemia on July 18th, 1946. Holden describes Allie as very intelligent and incredibly kind and notes Allie’s bright red hair as a defining physical characteristic. Allie used to play baseball, and he wrote poems in green ink on his baseball mitt to read while no one was at bat.

Allie’s death negatively affects Holden. After Allie died, Holden smashed all the windows in his parent’s garage, breaking his hand in the process. When Holden is feeling particularly depressed, he tends to talk to Allie out loud. Holden expresses regret over not having invited Allie to join him and a friend on an outing when Allie was still alive. Holden sometimes imagines telling Allie to grab his bike and come along on that outing as a futile attempt to change the past.

Carl Luce

Carl Luce was Holden’s older classmate at Whooton. He is three years older than Holden and is considered very intelligent. Holden calls him up out of boredom and loneliness, hoping to have dinner and some “intellectual conversation.” Carl Luce tells Holden he can only meet him at ten o’clock at night at the Wicker Bar.

When Carl Luce shows up, Holden is intent on discussing sex with him, as Holden remembers how Carl would boast to the boys in the dorm about his sex life. Carl is reluctant to have the conversation and repeatedly tells Holden to be more quiet. Holden is unable to read Carl and can’t have a decent conversation with him, because he only wants to discuss topics that Carl deems...

(The entire section is 2,157 words.)