What is the setting for The Catcher in the Rye?

The setting for The Catcher in the Rye includes Pencey Prep, an exclusive boarding school that Holden attends in New Jersey, and New York City, where the majority of the story transpires. The post–World War II era of the late 1940s and early 1950s also plays a significant role in the story. Both time and place directly impact Holden’s perspective on society and the world around him, specifically regarding social class, commercialization, the war, and mental health. At the very beginning and end of the novel, Holden also references a mental health facility near Hollywood, California, from which he is narrating—an important clue that hints at Holden’s possible mental illness.