Catcher in the Rye

Topics: Meaning of life, Short story, Emotion Pages: 5 (1433 words) Published: March 25, 2013
ENG 3U1 – The Catcher in the Rye Essay Outline Assignment
Task: Pick one of the essay prompts below. Your answer to the prompt will be the thesis of your essay. Thoughtfully and carefully craft an essay outline to develop and defend your thesis. Be concise and to the point, this is only an outline! You may consult your agenda, previous notes and our class for essay writing tips. Be sure to use text-based evidence to support your thesis. Essay Prompts

Throughout the novel, Holden is a tormented adolescent. He feels alienated and isolated at Pencey Prep, he is belittled and dismissed by women he wants to impress, he is beaten up twice, he dreams of escape from the world he lives in and he even considers suicide. Yet, despite these hardships, the novel maintains a humourous tone. Why did Salinger choose humour as the tone for his novel? How does humour contribute to the novel’s larger meaning and effect? Consider how the novel’s meaning would be different if Salinger did not use so much humour.

Discuss the meaning or impact of the title of the book as a central, controlling theme in the novel. How does Holden’s wish to be “the catcher in the rye” help readers understand both his character and the nature of his deep troubles and concerns about life? Be sure to address the significance of Holden’s misreading of the Robert Burns’ poem.

Critic Maxwell Geismar 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?

Holden, like each of us, faces living in a world he did not create. While he may reject much of the dominant culture, he is also clearly affected by it. What faults of the larger society does Holden exhibit? How does Salinger reveal these faults to the reader?

DUE: December 6th-9th

Template Exemplar
Thesis:_In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger is able to use humour as a way of connecting with his readers as well as a device to highlight the obvious flaws in nature. If humour was not to be found, the meaning of the novel would have a overall dark atmosphere.

Supporting Argument 1
Why Humour? He uses humour because the story is told in the perspective of a teenager. Teenagers in general and Holden as a reference is very emotional throughout the book. Salinger uses humour to make the novel easier to read for the readers

Proof: Keeps the reader entertained through the spontaneous acts the Holden commits

Analysis: Many of the things Holden does is just spontaneous, he acts on impulse. These sorts of things bring humour into the overall message of the novel. Events such as calling friends like Luce and Sally are acting on impulse.

Proof: Teenagers hide their emotions through jokes

Analysis: Holden numerous times uses humour as a way of getting out of tough times. One example is when Pheobe is mad at him and he pinches her rear-end. A second example happens when he calls Sally a pain in the ass, he begins to laugh. They use these jokes to hide their emotions, as well as using drugs and alcohol to numb the emotion.

Proof: The constant use of Sarcasm shows how Holden doesn’t have a full grasp of what adulthood really is.

Analysis: Holden puts on the act of how everything seems fine when in reality Holden is always covering the pain he is feeling through his immature ways and sarcasm. Also, teenagers try to laugh things off. Like Holden, he doesn’t want people to judge him because of his feelings. Sarcastic remarks such as the one he made about the men carrying the christmas tree bring humour into the novel to lighten the mood.

Supporting Argument 2
Humour is used as a crutch for such a depressing book. It allows the reader to become more entertained rather then reading about depressing...
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