Holden: narrator and main character; adolescent young
boy, age sixteen, who searches for people and things which arent phony; envisions
himself as a "catcher in the rye" who saves small children from death;
throughout the story Holden attempts to preserve the innocence and genuineness of life,
though his mental sickness prevents him from separating good from evil.
10-year-old sister who he loves very much because she represents all that is not phony in
the world; she is able to articulate Holdens beliefs better than he can himself.
beloved brother was died of leukemia before the story began; he also represents all that
is genuine and not phony; Holden sees him as the role model of the perfect human because
he was nice to everyone he ever met.
Holdens older brother who has sold out to Hollywood as a prostitute; hes also
a phony; Holden admires him in a way but not nearly as much as he admires Allie.
mother and father represent what he considers phony; he never has a conversation with them
throughout the book and tries to avoid them as much as possible.
Mr. Spencer: Holdens
history teacher who he admires and then feels sorry for after he visits him at his home;
Holden realizes that Mr. Spencer is just a pathetic old man who he can no longer relate
to; this begins to show Holdens lack of positive adult role models.
Holdens English teacher who respects and believes he can always turn to for help;
this illusion is shattered when he suspects that Mr. Antolini is coming on to him; this
serves to further confuse Holden.
friend from Pencey Prep.; described as a pimply guy who never goes out and has few
friends; Holden feels sorry for him even and is nice to him though he really doesnt
like him much.
Holdens Prencey Prep. roommate; when Holden questions Stradlater about having sex
with Jane Gallagher, he punches Holden.
Sally Hayes: a
good-looking yet unintelligent girl who Holden goes to a play with; she repesents middle
class values about success and happiness.
Holdens childhood friend who always kept here kings in the back row in checkers.
James Castle: student
at Holdens school who commits suicide instead of giving in to the bully he called
conceited; Holden admires this boy more being a martyr for justice.