The Catcher in the Rye home assignment


  1. Harold Bloom writes, “Faulkner remarked that Holden’s dilemma was his inability to find and accept an authentic mentor, a teacher or guide who could arouse his trust.…+ Holden speaks for our skepticism, and for our need.” Do you agree? How so?
  2. Many scholars say that The Catcher in the Rye belongs to the literary tradition of the Quest— that the novel is a modernization of this mythic form. Do you agree? How so?
  3. How does Holden’s language (his diction, syntax, mannerisms, way of organizing his thoughts, etc.) reinforce the novel’s themes?
  4. James Bryan notes that Holden “is poised between two worlds, one he cannot return to and one he fears to enter.” In what ways does Holden embody the limbo between childhood and adulthood?
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