Research Paper Topics

Tenth Grade Honors
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE – Research Paper Topics
Please refer to the Research paper example as discussed in class to be sure you are including all
the elements necessary in a research paper.
 Typed in Times New Roman font, size 12, double-spaced
 Five paragraph minimum
 Two to three outside reference sources, with works cited page in MLA format
 Three quotes, properly cited in MLA format
 Do not plagiarize. Even if you paraphrase someone else’s thoughts, you must give credit
to your source.
 Research paper is DUE on Friday, May 29. Please e-mail to me or print and hand in on
the due date.
Topics (choose one):
 Investigate Holden's Mental Health - Depression and grief are major themes of The
Catcher in the Rye. Holden deals with both and tells readers his story while he's confined
to a psychiatric facility. Do research on depression in teenagers, including potential
causes, specific conditions and treatments. Write a research paper that presents a
diagnosis for Holden's mental health and supports it using evidence from the text and
your sources. You might especially consider how Holden's life experiences, particularly
the death of his brother and his feelings of alienation from society, may have contributed
to his condition.
 Explore the years 1949 and 1950 - The Catcher in the Rye takes place amid the
prosperity of the post-World War II era, when many Americans were living comfortably
and enjoying the luxuries of consumerism, television and suburban homes. By contrast,
though, the burgeoning civil rights movement reflected the frustrations of minorities
excluded from mainstream society, while the Beat poets were expressing discontent with
the uniformity of culture. Write a research paper that sets Salinger's novel against the
social backdrop of its era, exploring how these events reflect Holden's feelings of
disillusionment, alienation and hatred for conformity. You might consider exploring
Holden's concept of the adult world's "phoniness" and creating a definition for it based on
the historical context.
 Explore the book’s controversy - In the early 1980s, The Catcher in the Rye received
widespread attention for its connection to the murder of John Lennon and the attempted
assassination of former president Ronald Reagan. Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman,
was discovered reading the book when he was arrested, while police found a copy of the
novel in would-be assassin John Hinckley Jr.'s hotel room. Research these two cases and
explore the novel's connection to the events. Then discuss how Holden's character as a
loner and the book's themes of alienation and isolation may have influenced Chapman
and Hinckley and provided rationale for their actions. Use direct quotes from the book, as
well as specific examples from your research, to back up your assertions.
You will be graded according to the rubric on the back of this page.
Tenth Grade Honors
The Catcher in the Rye – Research Paper Rubric
Rubric for grading:
5 paragraph minimum
_____ / 10
Introduction with clear thesis
_____ / 10
Topic sentences
_____ / 10
Supporting details (facts, reasons, examples)
_____ / 15
Three quotes in proper format
_____ / 15
Two to three sources used, with works cited page
_____ / 10
_____ / 10
Grammar, spelling, punctuation
_____ / 20
Total points
_____ / 100