Jane Gallagher is a childhood friend of Holden Caulfield's whom he had romantic feelings for.


According to Holden, Jane had a lousy childhood. Her parents were divorced, and she lived with her mother and stepfather, a "booze hound" named Mr. Cudahy whom Jane had a difficult relationship with. Holden mentions that her mother belonged to the same club that his family did.

Jane and her family moved from Cape Cod to Maine in the same neighborhood as the Caulfield family. She and Holden met after her Doberman Pinscher came over to relieve itself on the lawn of his house.[1] Spending a rather romantic time together, he recalls how they bonded over games, books, and watching movies.

When she was younger, Jane was a ballet dancer.[2] According to Holden, she also read a lot of good books and poetry, and she enjoyed Allie Caulfield's baseball mitt with all the poems written on it. Jane is also fond of all athletic sports. They would also often play golf and checkers together. According to him, Jane had an odd habit of not moving her King pieces from the back row, because she liked the way they looked lined up at the back of the board.

Before they went off to prep school, Jane told Holden that she might go to B.M. or Shipley, and he has not heard from her since.

The Catcher in the Rye

During the night of the Saxon Hall game, Holden finds out that his roommate Ward Stradlater is going out on a date with Jane. When Stradlater comes home from his date, he brags about how he and Jane ended up in the car he had borrowed from coach Ed Banky, much to Holden's disdain, precipitating into a physical fight between the two boys.[3] Holden frequently thinks about Jane and throughout the book tempted to call her but couldn't bring himself to do it.


Holden has said that he "wouldn't exactly describe [Jane] as strictly beautiful" and that she is "sort of muckle-mouth", but nonetheless finds her attractive. Holden also claims he knew Jane "like a book".

Character analysis

Despite not appearing in the current timeline of The Catcher in the Rye, Jane is one of the few important figures whom Holden has deep affections for. Jane is one of the few people who Holden speaks about positively; he is in love with her but can’t connect with his feelings enough to realize and is too immature to call her. Just like how he sees Phoebe, Holden sees Jane with a sense of purity and innocence.


"We'd get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we'd start holding hands, and we wouldn't quit till the movie was over. And without changing the position or making a big deal out of it. You never worried with Jane, whether your hand was sweaty or not. All you knew was you were happy. You really were."

Holden Caulfield, Chapter 11


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