The Catcher in the Rye home assignment

  1. What is up with the women in this book. Or, more accurately, why are there no women in this book except a prostitute and a fourth-grader?
  2. Does Holden seem to think that he’s feeling new feelings? (Or does Salinger?) In other words—is he just expressing something that teenagers have always felt, or are these feelings of boredom, indifference, and anxiety particular to his time period?
  3. Let’s talk about the ending to The Catcher in the Rye. Is it optimistic? Negative? Gloomy?
  4. How much can we trust Holden’s descriptions of other people? Is Ackley really as pimply and disgusting as we’re told he is? Is Phoebe really so smart and wonderful?
  5. Are there certain instances in the text where we can’t tell whether seventeen-year-old Holden is talking about his feelings now or his feelings when he was sixteen?
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