Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Compare and Contrast Holden and Huckleberry Finn. How does their adolescent inexperience permit their creators, Salinger and Mark Twain, to assert moral values?

2. Several of Salinger’s own writer peers have criticized his books for being naively romantic and juvenile in their point of view. Research the criticism of Salinger and support or refute such arguments.

3. Holden frequently refers to Hollywood and New York’s Madison Avenue as American centers of phoniness. The capitals of American moviemaking and advertising, these locales symbolize for Holden the creation of false reality. What were these industries like in the 1940s and 1950s?

4. Holden champions the American writer Ring Lardner. What qualities does Lardner’s fiction have that attract Holden?

5. Salinger’s other books also focus on youth or recall nostalgically and poignantly the lives of Characters now grown up. Analyze what common Themes and events underlie Salinger’s later books and The Catcher in the Rye.

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