The Many Incarnations of Holden Caulfield


Today marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of J.D. Salinger’s much-beloved novel, The Catcher in the Rye. The book has been much argued over in the years since its publication, but no one can deny that it has influenced countless artists, writers and troubled teenagers and had a lasting impact on American culture. Holden is in many ways the original angsty American teen, sex-obsessed and confused, and as a tribute to the occasion of his 60th (or should we say, 77th?) year, we’ve collected a few of our favorite Holden variations, incarnations and iterations here. Click through to see our list of troubled teens, social dropouts, misguided misanthropes and other heirs to our dear Holden Caulfield, and let us know how the man, the myth, the legend has affected your own inner life in the comments. But, of course, don’t be phony.

James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Eddie, Shrevie, Boogie, Fen and Billy in Diner, 1982

Clay in Less Than Zero , by Bret Easton Ellis, 1985

Watanabe in Norwegian Wood , by Haruki Murakami, 1987

Jason “J.D” Dean in Heathers, 1988

Angela Chase in My So Called Life, 1994

90s alt-rockers The Caulfields

Max Fischer in Rushmore, 1998

Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower , by Stephen Chbosky, 1999

Sebastian Valmont, Cruel Intentions, 2000

Neil Lawrence in Chasing Holden, 2001

Igby Slocumb, Igby Goes Down, 2002

Thomas “Holden” Worther in The Good Girl, 2002

Monty Brogan in 25th Hour, 2002

Family Guy, Season 3, Episode 8, 2002

Andrew Largeman in Garden State, 2004

Holden (and Banky) in Chasing Amy, 2007

Toby Cavanaugh in Pretty Little Liars, 2010

Butters in South Park, ‘The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs‘, 2010

Shepard Fairey, according to himself, 2011

This article was originally published on