The Catcher in the Rye Essay Topics

Requirements- 3.5 format, use a sufficient amount of quotes, organized introduction with clearly stated thesis and forecast, clear topic sentences for each body paragraph, and an effective conclusion.

1. Holden and Depression: Research depression in teenagers, including information about its symptoms and treatment.  After doing so, look at Holden.  Which symptoms does he exhibit? Use evidence from the story to create a “diagnosis” of Holden.

2. Salinger weaves a variety of symbols into The Catcher in the Rye, including (but not limited to) the red hunting hat, the ducks in Central Park, and Allie’s mitt.  Select and analyze one symbol that Salinger uses in the book.  Explain how Salinger develops this object as a symbol throughout the story.  Discuss the symbol’s meaning and significance and explore its contributions to the overall message of the novel.

3. Critic David D. Galloway said, “Wherever Holden turns, his craving for truth seems to be frustrated by the phoniness of the world.” Analyze Holden’s use of the word “phony”. What does the word mean in the context of the book, and does Holden offer any alternative to phoniness? Is Holden himself guilty of being a phony? How does Salinger want readers to judge ideas about phoniness?

4. Critic Maxwell Geismer writes, “The Catcher in the Rye protests, to be sure, against both the academic and social conformity of its period, but what does it argue for?”  Write an essay to explain what the book argues for. What might Salinger have been trying to communicate to his readers through his novel, and how does he do so?

5. Ordinary People and Holden Caulfield: Rent the 1980 Robert Redford film Ordinary People (winner of four Academy Awards, including best picture, this movie is rated R, so make sure you seek permission from your parents).  It is the story of a family struggling with the accidental death of a teenage son.  Compare the situations in the film with the situations that occur with the Caulfields in The Catcher in the Rye. How much of Holden’s behavior has been affected by the death of Ally?  Compare and contrast Conrad’s grief with that of Holden.

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Published in: on May 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I do not understand topics one and two.

    • You need to do more research for this topic.


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