The narrator of the story. He is a troubled and lonely boy who is having a difficult time dealing with the world around him. He finds himself attracted to the weak and the innocent as shown in his attachment towards children, the ducks in Central Park, and helping out "losers." He is an extremely sensitive boy, though he tries to hide this aspect of himself from the reader.
Holden's younger sister. She is ten years-old when the events of the novel take place. She is a very bright girl who at times can seem wise beyond her years. Holden is extremely fond of her.
D.B. is spoken of, but never seen in the novel. He is Holden's older brother who now works as a writer in Hollywood. Holden says that his brother has come to visit him many times in the hospital.
Holden's younger brother. He died of leukemia three year prior to the events in the novel. He was two years younger than Holden. Holden is extremely fond of Allie, and still talks to him on occasion. Holden was very upset when his brother died, and cherishes Allie's baseball glove.
A girl that Holden spent a summer with when their families were in neighboring summer houses. He remembers her fondly and still thinks of her as an innocent girl. He gets very angry when he feels that his roommate might have infringed upon her innocence.
A girl that Holden finds attractive. He has known her for quite some time, but claims to not like her that much. Near the end of the novel, a confused and desperate Holden asks her to marry him.
Ackley lives next door to Holden in the dorm rooms at Pencey Prep. He is an unpopular boy, and Holden claims to not like him. Holden shows some compassion towards him when he invites him out one evening.
Holden's roommate at Pencey Prep. He is very popular, good-looking, and not particularly sensitive.
A skinny and weak-looking classmate of Holden's at Elkton Hills. His name always appeared right before Holden's in the school's roll call. To avoid the torment of school bullies, Castle had jumped out of a school window to his death. Holden says that he barely knew him, but Castle was wearing a turtleneck sweater he had borrowed from Holden when he died. Mr. Antolini is the one who covered up the body and carried him to the infirmiry.
Luce used to be Holden's senior advisor and would gather lots of students together to talk about sex. Holden meets with him during the course of the novel and attempts to have another sex-filled conversation.
Holden's English teacher when he attended Elkton Hills. He is on friendly terms with Holden, as well as D.B. and Holden's father. He is a fairly young man, and is married to an older woman. He seems to understand what Holden is going through. He may have made a sexual advance towards Holden within the course of the novel.
Holden's history teacher at Pencey Prep. He is an old and sickly man who is worried about what will become of Holden.