Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye
Essay Questions
Now that you have finished the novel, Catcher in the Rye, you will write a 5-paragraph,
approximately 500-word essay on one of the topics provided. You will be marked on all steps of
the writing process, in the following way:
Choose ONE topic from the list below.
Brainstorm your ideas related to this topic and hand this in . (/2.5)
Prepare a DETAILED, POINT-FORM Outline using one of the models provided. (/2.5)
Be sure to:
 develop a clear, well-written thesis and topic sentences
 answer ALL PARTS of the question THOROUGHLY
 find quotes from the book (including page #’s) to support your ideas
 make notes that explain your quotes and points clearly
Write a ROUGH COPY / FIRST DRAFT of your essay. Have a peer edit this draft using a different-coloured
pen so it is clear what their input is. They should write: Edited by: _________________ at the top of this
draft. (/5)
Write your GOOD COPY. This needs to be Word Processed and e-mailed to me. (/30)
You must hand in your Brainstorming, Outline, and Rough Draft(s) in person to me, with the Rough Copy
stapled ON TOP.
Here are the Essay Topics:
Choose three important symbols from the story and show how they supported and reinforced the theme
of innocence and experience in the book.
Choose three important characters from the story (besides Holden!!) and show how they supported and
reinforced the theme of innocence and experience in the book.
Explain three key events that helped Holden move from innocence to experience, and how these events
therefore helped to make the theme of the novel clear.
Many characters in this novel have similar qualities, and help to contrast personalities, development of
character, themes, and symbols. Some examples of character foils include:
o Mr. Spencer and Mr. Antolini
o Sally Hayes and Jane Gallagher
o Stradlater and Ackley
Choose two characters (1 set of foils) and compare and contrast them in terms of:
physical appearance
relationship to Holden
how Holden describes them and what he thinks of them
…then use this information to explain what these characters symbolize in the story, and how they help to
express the theme of the story.
Holden’s favorite put-down is “phony”. Which people in the story are considered phony and why? Name
three characters and explain what is phony about them, according to Holden, and how this contributes to
the theme of the novel.
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What is the significance of the title in terms of the theme of the novel, and the development of Holden’s
character? Explain the meaning of the title and the ways in which the author weaves this theme
throughout the novel.
The climax of this story involves Holden having an epiphany. Explain what the epiphany was, the
circumstances surrounding the epiphany (who did it involve? When and where in the story? etc.), and
why this was the turning point in the story and the theme of the novel.
Explain what “the fall” symbolizes, why this symbol is important to understanding Holden’s character and
the theme of the novel, and in the process, provide three examples of situations where this symbol is
used in the story.
Choose your own topic but run it by me before you begin! 
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