More about the title:
Holden tells his little sister that he wants to be a "catcher in the rye" (in the passage quoted above
by prole), but this is not really his goal in life.
Holden basically bullshits everyone - he is going out
West to be a cowboy, or up North to Vermont where he'll
cut his own wood. But he won't do any of these things.
He got the idea for being a catcher in the rye because he
heard a little boy singing Comin Thro' the Rye
incorrectly: "When a body catch a body/Comin thro' the rye"
- even Holden's little sister knows it's wrong. It should
be "When a body meet a body."
The point, I guess, is that Holden's BS does not stand
up very well. Neither does Holden, for that matter.
The thing that surprised me most about this book is that
Holden is rich. He is not without social graces,
either: he is a good dancer, he knows how to make people
happy. He is not really free, either. He is just screwing
around in the few days before his parents find out he's
been kicked out of school. And he doesn't really *do*
anything, either. He's no Ferris Bueller.
In the end, he gets himself sick, soaked to the skin,
probably so his parents won't give him too much hell.
I think the reason the book appealed to some celebrity
killers is that Holden's life is going nowhere, but
there is a speech near the end in which his old teacher
tells him that he could die nobly for an unworthy cause.
That's probably what lights the light bulb in their
whacked out little heads.