narrator and main character; adolescent young boy, age sixteen, who searches for people and things which aren’t 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.
Holden’s 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 Holden’s beliefs better than he can himself.
Holden’s 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.
Holden’s older brother who has sold out to Hollywood as a prostitute; he’s also a phony; Holden admires him in a way but not nearly as much as he admires Allie.
Holden’s 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.
Holden’s 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 Holden’s lack of positive adult role models.
Holden’s 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 doesn’t like him much.
Holden Prencey Prep. roommate; when Holden questions Stradlater about having sex with Jane Gallagher, he punches Holden.
agood-looking yet unintelligent girl who Holden goes to a play with; she repesents middle class values about success and happiness.
Holden’s childhood friend who always kept here kings in the back row in checkers.
Castlestudent at Holden’s school who commits suicide instead of giving in to the bully he called conceited; Holden admires this boy more being a martyr for justice.