Why Is It Called Catcher In The Rye?

Throughout history, works of literature have been given titles that echoes their subject, author’s life experience and goal. For literature buffs , one of the most memorable and recognizable titles is ‘Catcher in The Rye’ , the classic novel written by J. D Salinger.

But Why is it called Catcher in the Rye? This article will uncover the depth of this thought-provoking title and look into why it was chosen to represent the classic work of literature.

Why Is It Called Catcher in the Rye?

The classic novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J. D.

Salinger was first published in 195 Since its release, the book has become one of the most popular and influential books of the twentieth century and is regarded as one of the greatest American novels of all time.

So what does the title of this classic novel mean and whence does it come?

Symbolism in the Title

The title Catcher in the Rye is a reference to a line in the poem ‘Comin’ Thro the Rye’ written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 178 The poem is about childhood innocence, but with a much darker undertone.

The line in the poem ‘If a body catch a body comin’ thro’ the rye’, has been interpreted to mean someone looking out for children playing in the rye field and trying to rescue them from harm. Salinger was said to be intrigued by this use of words and decided to use it as the title of his book.

Themes of the Novel

The protagonist in Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, is a 16 year-old estranged from society and in search of his place in the world. The novel portrays the struggle and confusion of adolescence beautifully, as Holden deals with themes such as the loss of innocence, disgust for life and modern society, identity crisis and alienation.

The title acts as a metaphor for Holden’s desires and journey to save himself and other young innocents from falling into adulthood – hence becoming the ‘catcher’ in the rye.

Summary of the Book

In the novel, Holden Caulfield is an angry and disaffected teenager who runs away from prep school and wanders New York City. The novel details Holden’s exploits and is written in the form of a psychological study of one young man’s journey of self-discovery.

On his voyage, Holden visits museums, meets a prostitute, has drinks with an old friend and crosses paths with a number of people. Holden’s journey is full of philosophical musings and meaningful realizations, as he reconciles his own identity with the world around him.


Catcher in the Rye is a timeless classic that serves as a reminder of the struggle of adolescence and the confusion of growing up. At its heart, the novel is about a young man’s search for meaning and self-discovery in an ever-changing society. The title of the novel is an apt metaphor for Holden Caulfield’s journey and is an allusion to the complex themes and values of the novel. URL citation: https://literarydevices. net/catcher-in-the-rye/https://www. explainingthebook. com/catcher-in-the-rye/

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