The novel's narrator and protagonist, Holden is a seventeen year-old high school junior who has flunked out of prep school several times. His sister is Phoebe, and he has a deceased younger brother, Allie… (read full character analysis)
Holden's younger sister. Though only ten years old, Phoebe is considerably more mature than Holden. She is a voice of reason throughout the novel, both in Holden's thoughts and in the advice she gives to… (read full character analysis)
Holden's deceased younger brother. Allie died of leukemia on July 18, 1946, when Holden was thirteen. Holden describes Allie as intelligent, calm, and friendly.
D. B. Caulfield
Holden's older brother. Holden looks up to D.B., but is disappointed in his decision to go to Hollywood to write for the movies, which Holden thinks is an act similar to prostitution.
A summer girlfriend of Holden's. Jane is one of the few people of whom Holden speaks fondly. In fact, he idealizes her so much that he makes her sound perfect.
Holden's roommate at Pencey Prep. Though Stradlater is attractive and popular, Holden despises him for his arrogance and his "secret" dirty hygiene.
The peculiar and annoying student who lives in the room next to Holden's. Ackley's bad skin and teeth make him physically repulsive to Holden.
A beautiful girl whom Holden has dated in the past. Sally is an example of women to whom Holden is attracted, but does not respect.
Holden's history teacher at Pencey Prep who tries unsuccessfully to motivate Holden to "play by the rules," and take more responsibility for himself and his academic performance.
A student at Elkton Hills (Holden's former school) who committed suicide by jumping out of his window after an argument with another student.
A former stripper whom Holden calls to arrange a date shortly after he arrives in New York.
The headmaster of Elkton Hills, Holden's former school.
Three years older than Holden, Luce was Holden's student advisor at the Whooton School.
The elevator operator at the Edmont Hotel, who makes extra money by being a pimp.
A teenage prostitute who Holden sees at the Edmont Hotel.
The taxi driver who explains to Holden about the ducks in the Central Park lagoon.
A girl Holden dances with at the Edmont Hotel's nightclub.
An obnoxious girl that D.B. once dated. Holden avoids her at Ernie's.
The Pencey Prep headmaster. He tells Holden that "life is a game," advice that Mr. Spencer repeats to Holden at the beginning of the novel.
A boy who Holden considers the "biggest bastard" at Pencey. Holden meets Ernest's mother on the train to New York.
The Pencey Prep janitor. Holden uses his name when he introduces himself to Ernest Morrow's mother on the train to New York.
A friend of Holden's at Pencey.