The derivation of The Catcher in the Rye from a series of unrelated short stories--as well as Salinger's affection for the form of the short story--helps explain the pacing and relative lack of narrative continuity in the novel. No setting or character other than Holden continues in the novel for more than two consecutive chapters (which also may be a characteristic feature of Holden’s specific story). Holden, as narrator, is the only continuous character in the entire story. Characters such as Sally Hayes and Mr. Antolini appear only in one chapter and then mostly disappear. The first chapters of the novel, which are all set at Pencey, are the only ones that sustain the same characters and setting for an extended period. Furthermore, since Salinger reiterates thematic elements throughout the novel (in practically every chapter Holden complains about phonies), many of the chapters essentially could be short stories in themselves.
The best-known event associated with The Catcher in the Rye is arguably Mark David Chapman 's shooting of John Lennon .  Chapman identified with the novel's narrator to the extent that he wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield. 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.