Study Help Essay Questions


1. Discuss the novel as a coming-of-age story. How does Holden's character change during the course of the novel?

2. Consider one of the following as symbols: the gold ring, Pencey Prep, or Holden's hunting cap.

3. Discuss the theme of death in the novel, citing specific events or passages.

4. Read one other coming-of-age novel, such as Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Robert Lipsyte's The Contender, and compare the protagonists, settings, symbols, and themes with those in The Catcher in the Rye.

5. Based on what you know of Holden, what do you think his future will be?

6. Discuss Holden's relationship with Phoebe citing specifics from their conversations.

7. Why does Holden want to be the catcher in the rye? What are the positive and negative aspects of his fantasy?