Coles, Editorial Board. J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories. Toronto: Coles, 2000. Print.
Coles Notes are similar to Cliff’s Notes, in that they give a general synopsis of a work, a list of primary characters, and an abbreviated section on critical resource material.
This volume contains a short biographical and bibliographical essay on Salinger, some background on The Catcher in the Rye, a plot summary for The Catcher in the Rye, a list of characters in the novel, and a chapter-by chapter summary with commentary.
It also contains sections on plot, character, and meaning in The Catcher in the Rye, a few pages on the style of the novel, and then Miller and Heiserman’s article, “J.D. Salinger: Some Crazy Cliff.”
Next, there is an introduction to Nine Stories, and a synopsis of each of the stories, followed by a sample of critical articles, Stevensen’s article “J.D. Salinger: The Mirror of Crisis,” and then a list of suggested study topics and a short list of bibliographical resources.
Thanks to Brian McTague for contributing the bulk of this content for the “Teddy” Reader’s Guide.
Published in The New Yorker January 31, 1953, pages 26-34, 36, 38, 40-41, 44-45.
Later published in Nine Stories, Little, Brown, 1953.
Teddy McArdle – child genius, philosopher, and spiritual guru. At ten years old he keeps a meticulous diary, has speaking engagements all over the country, and keeps up very sophisticated correspondence with academic and spiritual figures.
Mr. McArdle – Teddy’s father. A radio actor.
Mrs. McArdle – Teddy’s mother.
Booper McArdle – Teddy’s surly younger sister
Bob Nicholson – a fellow passenger on the ship the McArdles are traveling on, he’s heard one of Teddy’s tapes and is fascinated with the boy.
Myron – a young boy on the ship to whom Booper is cruel.
Teddy, his parents, and his little sister are traveling by ship, returning from an engagement at Oxford and another at Edinburgh, where Teddy met with people to discuss spiritual and academic topics. The story opens with Teddy in his family’s cabin, his father speaking crossly to him, and his mother languishing in bed. Teddy updates his diary, noting many things he needs to do, including correspondence with several individuals, and things he can do to make his family happier. In true Salinger style, Teddy is an exceptional child, and very intellectually advanced. Unlike the other children in Salinger’s work, Teddy is also very spiritually advanced, having studied Vedantic thought. He believes he is the reincarnation of an Indian man who had reached an advanced state of enlightenment, but had ceased to reach true enlightenment because of a woman.
Teddy encounters another passenger on the boat, a young academic named Bob, who had heard one of Teddy’s tapes. Nicholson and Teddy have a very in-depth conversation about spirituality. In this conversation, Teddy shares his own spiritual beliefs, and expresses the belief that a fear of death is silly. When one dies it is meant to happen. He (seemingly offhandedly) mentions that if his sister happened to push him into an empty pool and his head were to crack and he died right away that nobody should be sad because if it happened, it was supposed to happen.
Teddy leaves to go to his swimming listen, and Bob follows behind and from the stairway hears a high-pitched scream, described to be like the scream of a small girl child.
This reader’s guide was contributed by Leslie Gleue. Thanks, Leslie!
First published in The New Yorker on January 29, 1955 – pages 24-32, 35-43. Later published in the same book as “Zooey” in a volume called Franny and Zooey, which was published by Little, Brown in the Fall of 1961.
Franny Glass – a young college student traveling to visit her boyfriend for “the Yale game.” Franny is the youngest of the Glass family’s children.
Lane Coutell – Franny’s boyfriend
Franny travels by train to meet her boyfriend, Lane, for a fun weekend of football and friends. Things seem off when they meet at the platform, and they decide to go to a restaurant that is popular with the intellectual crowd. Franny is nervous and out of sorts, chain-smoking and barely eating. Lane tries to have a “normal” conversation with her, but she is distracted. Lane gets insulted at several different points of the conversation. She excuses herself to go the restroom, and comes back feeling better. She finally tells him about a book she’s carrying with her, called “The Way of the Pilgrim.” It’s about a man who travels travels to master the art of continuous prayer through something called the Jesus Prayer. To do this, one repeats “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner” over and over until it becomes a part of their very breath and heartbeat. This appeals to Franny, because it represents purification. Lane is bored by this and discounts the idea. Franny gets up to go to the bathroom again, and faints. When she comes to, Lane suggests that she get some rest. She stares at the ceiling, silently repeating the Jesus Prayer.
Written by Elizabeth Downing Johnson – December 2009
J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher In The Rye has attracted a lot of attention in its 58 years of literary life. Published in 1951, the novel received mixed critical reviews, garnering praise from The New Yorker, The Book-of-the-Month Club, Atlantic, Time, and Saturday Review (to name a few), but receiving criticism from publications like The New Republic, The Nation, New York Herald Tribune, Catholic World, and The Christian Science Monitor. A decade later, schools and libraries would ban The Catcher in the Rye, stating that the language was inappropriate and that the themes were blasphemous and immoral. Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon, testified that he was sure that “the large part of me is Holden Caulfield,” (Jones, 1), and John Hinckley Jr,’s attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life, as well as Robert John Bardo’s murder of a young television star, are also associated with the novel.
Obviously, not all press is good press, and despite Salinger’s notorious reclusive behavior, readers of The Catcher in the Rye can be sure that Salinger’s intention was not to encourage psychotic behavior. Along with this assumption, one could also assume that Salinger’s intention was not to spawn a published “Unauthorized Fictional Examination of the Relationship Between J.D. Salinger and his Most Famous Character,” which is the claim printed on the back cover of a book titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye. This book, written by one Fredrik Colting (pen name J.D. California) was the topic of many news stories in the summer of 2009. In fact, Salinger’s legal representation put a stop to the book’s American publication, stating that the book was a “rip off, pure and simple” (Staff, Concord Monitor). Since the book is still (as of December, 2009) unpublishable in the United States, so far no examination has been made to discern whether the book actually “works” as a sequel or as a “fictional examination” of Salinger and his relationship with Holden Caulfield. In order to do this, one would have to read 60 Years Later and compare it to the themes and style of The Catcher in the Rye. Luckily, (or unluckily), I have done so, and will attempt herein to give an objective analysis of the book and its relationship to Salinger’s masterpiece. Despite any attempt at objectivity, the textual and thematic analysis will prove that Colting’s attempt falls short of its goal.
In any comparative analysis, the best place to start is the text itself. Themes are debatable, but the text itself does not lie. This will be the first step in our journey, only after an introduction to 60 Years Later: Coming Through The Rye for those who have not had the chance (or the inclination) to buy it from another country. The plot of the novel follows an elderly Mr. C., who wakes up in a nursing home thinking that he is still the young Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. He is confused and thinks that his brother D.B. has been there the week before (while we find out later in the novel that D.B. died some time ago from a drug overdose), and he is shocked when he looks in the mirror and sees an old man looking back at him. The narrative is interrupted intermittently by italicized text that is supposed to be Salinger himself pondering over the fact that Holden seems to have had a whole life in the years since Salinger wrote his original story. The second chapter consists of only two sentences, “I’m bringing him back. After all these years I’ve finally decided to bring him back” (Colting, 9). The first four chapters are a slightly hallucinogenic account of Mr. C.’s description of his surroundings and his realization that he is now an old man. The end of the forth chapter ends with another section of what is supposed to be Salinger’s internal narrative, wherein he decides that
The most important rule, the one you cannot break or go around, is that everyone here needs to have a past. It’s really true everywhere but especially so here. If you don’t have a past you don’t exist. So I have to give him something to hold on to; I need to give him a life. Right now he’s confused, the poor boy. Who wouldn’t be? But it will pass. This very moment he is nothing but empty space. He is like a piece of paper upon which you have once started a story,and then locked in a box and buried deep in the ground. Now, 60 years later, you dig that same box up and continue the story from where the last sentence ended (Colting, 36).