How ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ Allegedly Inspired A Fan To Kill John Lennon

Published in 1951, JD Salinger’s ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ is not only a bestseller but also a book that has been challenged by the authorities ever since it was released. Such has been the impact of this book. 

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The novel popularized various slang words and is also linked to various murders and attempts to murder. Despite all the controversy, it has also been claimed that the novel’s effect on the society is far more positive than negative.

The life of ‘Holden’, novel’s protagonist, revolves around themes of familial neglect, tension between teens and the society, a rebel attitude and his quest to discover the true meaning of life.

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One of the biggest controversies that are associated with this novel is the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. Chapman related to the book’s protagonist to such an extent that he even wanted his name to be changed as ‘Holden’. He believed that the only way he could be like ‘Holden’ was if he killed Beatles singer/songwriter, John Lennon.

John Lennon signing a book for Mark David Chapman just a few hours before he was going to be shot down by the same man: 
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Chapman read the book when he was 16 and that is exactly how old ‘Holden’ was in the book. Just like ‘Holden’ from the book, Chapman was fond of children and when they arrested him after the murder, he started talking like ‘Holden’ and apologized to the policemen for making them go through all the trouble. He claimed he had two parts in him and he did not want to kill anyone. He just wanted to be ‘the catcher in the rye’ who would save the generation from ‘adults’ because that’s what ‘Holden’ dreamt of. He also read a passage from the book during his hearing at the court.

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John Hinckley Jr. had made an attempt to assassinate American President, Ronald Regan in 1981 and it shouldn’t come to you as a surprise that the police found a copy of ‘A Catcher In The Rye’ in John’s hotel room where he had been planning this murder.

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Rebecca Lucile Schaeffer was a teen model before she moved to acting but with fame came stalkers and little did she know that one of her fans who had been stalking her for about three years will shoot her down at her residence in West Hollywood.

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This fan was Robert John Bardo and while he was fleeing the scene, he tossed away a copy of ‘The Catcher In The Rye’. Robert had also written letters to Mark Chapman after the assassination of John Lennon.

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Apart from the murders, another mystery that is attached to the book is Peter Falconio’s disappearance. He was a British tourist who was last spotted reading ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ before vanishing from the barrow creek area.

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The next time you see someone buying ‘The Catcher In The Rye’, start looking for the nearest exit and well, just to let you know, I always keep a copy with me.

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What do you think of this super awesome book? If you’ve read it, let’s talk about it in the comment section and for those who have not, this should definitely make you curious to go get your copy!

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Sukriti Hora

Writer. Reader. Daughter. Lover. Best friend. Dog person.

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