The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, sexuality, alienation, and rebellion. It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. Around 250,000 copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than sixty-five million. The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.
The novel was included on a 2005 Time Magazine list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the United States for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.
References to The Catcher in the Rye in media and popular culture are numerous. Works inspired by The Catcher in the Rye have been said to form their own genre. Dr. Sarah Graham assessed works influenced by The Catcher in the Rye to include the novels Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis,The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and Judith Guest's Ordinary People. Graham also includes the films The Graduate, Dead Poets Society, Tadpole, Igby Goes Down, Chapter 27, The Good Girl and Donnie Darko. It has also been mentioned in an episode of the popular show South Park, and references to the novel form a major plot point in the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. In the decade following its publication, there were more than 70 essays on the novel printed in American and British magazines.
Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon (Chapman was arrested with a copy of the book), John Hinckley, Jr.'s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, Robert John Bardo's shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer, and other murders have also been associated with the novel.