How did Catcher in the Rye convince Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon?

I've read the book but not very well as it was for a class and I was lazy. But now I'm just curious, how did a book make this guy want to kill John Lennon? I mean, obviously he's crazy but did he ever explain it or give reasons or anything?

7 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The man definitely has issues.

    Chapman had been hearing voices on and off since he was a small child. Chapman was obsessed with 'Cather in the Rye' and he wanted to emulate the life of the main character, Holden Caulfield.

    On the day of Lennon's murder, Lennon actually signed an album for Chapman. This encounter pushed Chapman over the edge. Chapman waited for Lennon to return because he knew where the ducks went in winter, and he needed to know this." The statement references the character Holden who has this same thought throughout "The Catcher in the Rye."

    It was determined that although Chapman was delusional, he was competent enough to stand trial. Chapman's lawyer, Jonathan Marks, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. But in June, Chapman decided he wanted to plead guilty because God told him to do it. It was determined that Chapman made the decision of his own free will and he was declared competent to plead guilty.

    When Chapman was asked if he had anything to say, he rose and read a passage from "The Catcher in the Rye," when Holden tells his little sister, Phoebe, what he wants to do with his life:

    "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all."

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Mark Chapman Book

  • 9 years ago

    The book didn't make him want to kill Lennon. Chapman was a patsy set up for the hit by the CIA's MK-Ultra program. Why? Because Lennon was due to win his U.S. citizenship a few months later, and they needed to eliminate the chance that Lennon would have joined the opposition to their murderous counterrevolutionary wars in Central America (esp. Nicaragua and El Salvador), just getting underway as Reagan's transition team was taking power in December 1980. Think that's nuts? Read _Who Killed John Lennon?_ by Fenton Bresler, and _The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: the CIA and Mind Control_ by John Marks. And visit

  • Aimee
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Chapman was a nut job that took way too many drugs when he was a teenager! Trust me,he would've found his "inspiration"to kill John Lennon from somewhere,I'll bet that book was probably the 1st thing he was able to get his overweight hands on!

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  • 9 years ago

    He's just insane. He actually planned to kill John Lennon before he read the book, and I bet he read it just so he could plead insanity and spit mumbo jumbo from the book. He got two birds with one stone, banned the book and killed lennon. But, if you wanna read up on it, here's the wiki page

  • 9 years ago

    He's nuts. I've read that book and I couldn't find anything in it that I think would lead someone to kill another person.

  • Raatz
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    No. Schizophrenics make tenuous connections between things that aren't connected. It's how the illness works.

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