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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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TERM PAPER IDEAS

1. Compare Holden to Huckleberry Finn in terms of self-image, language,
and attitude toward society.

2. Compare Holden to the main character of Stephen Crane's The Red
Badge of Courage.

3. Analyze Salinger's success at writing comic dialogue.

4. Explain why you think the novel is optimistic or pessimistic.

5. Show how Holden's many references to movies reveal something about
him.

6. Discuss Holden's comments about artists, such as the Lunts, Laurence
Olivier, and Ernie the piano player.

7. Discuss Holden's comments about sex.

8. Show how Holden is not as mature or sophisticated as he would like
people to believe.

9. Discuss the various definitions of phony Holden uses throughout the
book.

10. Discuss the use of sports imagery in the book, including Holden's red
hunting hat.

11. If you've read any of the books Holden mentions, discuss his opinion of
the book(s).

12. Describe the differences in Holden in the three sections of the novel.
(See the section on Form and Structure.)

13. Evaluate Holden's attitude toward children.


14. Analyze the changes in Holden's speech patterns when he's talking to
certain adults in the novel.

15. Discuss the importance of Central Park in the novel.

16. Analyze the relationship between Holden and Phoebe, as it shows itself
in her bedroom and at the end of the novel.

17. Discuss Holden's attitude toward material possessions.

18. Contrast the conversation Holden has with Mr. Spencer and the one he
has with Mr. Antolini.

19. Show how the weekend Holden tells us about is related to his daydreams
about living in a monastery and on the edge of the woods.

20. Explain Holden's attitude toward successful lawyers, and show what this
reveals about him.

21. Explain why you think Holden does or does not belong in the hospital or
rest home from which he's telling the story.

22. Discuss the differences in Holden's attitude toward Phoebe, Allie, and
Jane Gallagher.

23. Show how Holden's flair for lying is or is not helpful to him in
conversations.

24. Describe a school or educational system that Holden would find
appealing.

25. Describe three different people-his own age or older-that Holden would
enjoy spending time with.

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Barron's Booknotes-The Catcher In the Rye by J. D. Salinger-Free Booknotes/Synopsis
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