It follows the protagonist Holden Caulfield and is considered a classic coming of age story.
The novel has become associated with shootings, the most well-known being Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon. On the night he shot Lennon, Chapman was found with a copy of the book in which he had written "This is my statement" and signed Holden's name. Later, he read a passage from the novel to address the court during his sentencing. Daniel Stashower speculated that Chapman had wanted Lennon's innocence to be preserved by death, inspired by Holden's wish to preserve children's innocence despite Holden's later realization that children should be left alone. After John Hinckley, Jr.'s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981, police found The Catcher in the Rye among half a dozen other books in his hotel room. Robert John Bardo, who murdered Rebecca Schaeffer, was carrying the book when he visited Schaeffer's apartment in Hollywood on July 18, 1989 and murdered her. Togusa is also seen with a copy in the episode Public Security Section 9, Once Again before he angrily sets off for the courts.