Discussion Questions

1. Holden has his hunting hat on at odd times. Why? What is the significance of the hat and what message is he really trying to get across by wearing it?

2. Through the novel, Holden is really trying to get in touch with only two people—Jane and Phoebe. Why do these two people attract him?

3. Why does Holden have a problem with people who are too good at their professions—like, for example, Ernie the piano player, or the acting Lunts at the theater?

4. The Catcher in the Rye has sold millions upon millions of copies worldwide. What do you think it is about the novel that relates well to so many people all over the world?

5. Salinger’s novel was banned in many schools. Yet by today’s standards, the work seems quaint. Do you think the book is still capable of shocking? If so, how?—and is it a good thing? If not, do you think the book actually contains more modesty than has been previously ascribed to it?

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