Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

"The Catcher in the Rye" - Suggested Reading

The Catcher in the Rye is a famous and controversial novel by J.D. Salinger. Here are a few more books you may want to read.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
    The Catcher in the Rye is often compared to Mark Twain's classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Both books involve the coming-of-age process of the main protagonist; both novels follow the journey of the boys; and both works have caused violent reactions in thier readers. You must read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Compare the novels, and see what all the hubbub is about.

  • Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
    Flowers for Algernon is a coming-of-age story, turned on its head. Charlie Gordon is part of an experiment, which enhances his intelligence. In the process, we see the development of an individual from innocence to experience.

  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
    In The Great Gatsby, we see the degradation of the American Dream, which was originally about individualism and the pursuit of happiness. How can we create meaning in such a place of moral decay? Then, when we step into the world of The Catcher in the Rye, does Holden even believe in American Dream? How does his idea of "phoniness" figure into the decline of the American Dream and the emptiness of the upper classes--which we see in The Great Gatsby.

  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a novel about missing connections. Each of the characters is looking for something that will satisfy their needs and fill the void. As McCullers writes, "in some men it is in them to give up everything personal at some time, before it ferments and poisons--throw it to some human being or some human idea." How does Holden fit in with this band of troubled misfits? Does Holden too need to throw his inner torment "to some human being or some human idea"?

  • Johnny Got His Gun - Dalton Trumbo

  • Lady Chatterly's Lover - D.H. Lawrence
    Lady Chatterley is controversial for the sexuality. But, it's also that delving into that passion and love that makes this novel so important, and ultimately allows us to link Lady Chatterley to The Catcher in Rye. The controversial reception (or rejection, rather) of these two novels was similar--in that both works were banned on sexual grounds. The characters attempt to make connections--interactions that could save them. How these connections play out, and what these connections say about the individual versus society is a question that's ready for a comparison between these novels.

  • Lord of the Flies - William Golding
    In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden observes the "phoniness" of the adult world. He is an outcaste in search of human interaction, but more than that, he is a teenager on the path to growing up. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, in which a group of boys create a savage civilization. How do the boys survive when they are left to their own devices? What does their society say about humanity as a whole?

  • The Member of the Wedding - Carson McCullers

  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
    The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age story--told by Holden Caulfield, with a sense of bitterness and cynicism. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a protest novel--told from Chief Bromden's point of view. Holden tells his story from behind the walls of an institution, while Bromden tells his story after he has escaped from the hospital. What can we learn about the individual versus society from studying these two books?

  • The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
    Yes, this is another book about teenagers. The Outsiders has long been a high school favorite, but the book has also been compared to The Catcher in the Rye. The Outsiders is about a close-knit group of teenagers. But, the novel is also about the individual versus society. How must they interact? Holden tells the story in The Catcher in the Rye, and Ponyboy tells the narrative of The Outsiders. How does the process of telling the story allow these boys to make a connection? Read this novel, and see how it compares to The Catcher in the Rye.

  • Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov

  • Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
    Time is an important element of Slaughterhouse Five. With time and free no longer constants in life, the characters could weave their paths through existence--without fear of death. But, somehow, the characters are "stuck in amber." Ernest W. Ranly describes the character as: "Comic, pathetic pieces, juggled about by some inexplicable faith, like puppets." How does the Slaughterhouse Five worldview compare with Holden's view in The Catcher in the Rye?
  • Welcome to the Monkey House - Kurt Vonnegut

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