Catcher in the Rye
By: J.D. Salinger
Exam Study Guide
Exam is worth a total of 200 points
Study handouts included with answers to check your own work
ALL Multiple Choice QUESTIONS ON
1) PLOT (notes to study: all reading quizzes returned and two sets of 1-10 post it questions
in your book)
2) CHARACTER ANALYSIS (notes to study: character analysis handout, literary analysis
dictionary terms, chapter 3 Double Entry Journals)
3) SYMBOLISM (NOTES TO STUDY: SYMBOLISM GUIDE POST IT, SYMBOLISM POST ITS,
SYMBOLS CH. 14-17 HANDOUT)
4) FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE TERMS (NOTES TO STUDY: LITERARY TERMS AND MORE
LITERARY TERMS HANDOUTS)
5) DICTION/TONE/MOOD (NOTES TO STUDY: DICTION AS IN DICTIONARY HANDOUT AND
TONE NOTES IN NOTEBOOK)
6) THE IRONIES (NOTES TO STUDY: SEE IRONIES DEFININTIONS IN JOURNALS AND “IRONIC”
LYRICS BY ALANIS MORRISETTE PRACTICE SHEET)
7) TITLE ANALYSIS (NOTES TO STUDY: SEE TITLE ANALYSIS JOURNAL AND NOTES, ROERT
BURNS “COMIN’ THRO’ THE RYE” LYRICS)
8) THEME (NOTES TO STUDY: SEE UNIVERSAL THEME VS. THEME HANDOUT)
*Additional study materials: see all notes, journals, and returned work that is related to The Catcher in
Welcome to the Rye!
Directions: Complete a short Literary Analysis of The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 1 by answering the following
questions in complete sentence, thorough, responses. These are not quick response questions, they required detailed
thinking, detailed analysis, and detailed explanations. Read deeply, supply textual evidence for your answers, and enjoy
what you write!
1. What is unique about the writing style of this novel? Whose point of view is it written from? What are some things you notice
about the diction (language) that the narrator uses?
Written very colloquially from the first person point of view of Holden Caulfield.
2. If the narrator attended Venice High, what do you think he would think about it? Who would his friends be? Where would
he hang out? What would his best and worst subjects be and why?
Holden is a bit of a loner and proves his best subject is English. Writing and
literacy seem to run in his family
3. The narrator is obviously the main character and the protagonist of this novel; do you think is necessarily a “good” guy? In
other words, are you on his side/Do you like him? Why or why not?
Holden is honest and trustworthy and yet, unreliable at the same time, making him
somewhat of a paradox. He is a cynic and a coward, which makes him difficult to
like but he is such a round and realistically human character that he is often
forgiven or excused for his skewed perspectives
4. As you may witness, the narrator is fairly independent and often alone both at school and in the real world. Do you think
Holden has true long term and short term friends? Why or why not?
Most likely short term friends are present; he gets along with many people but
never gets close enough to anyone to feel loved or supported. He shys away from
those who have displayed concern for him, like Mr. Spencer, but moves schools so
often that long terms friends seem impossible.
5. Why do you suppose the narrator‟s strongest subject is what it is? Analyze his character in relation to his fondness of this
subject; how do they match each other; or do they match at all?
He is from a family of writers, and affluent individuals who value education. He
has a knack for reading and writing and is highly prognostic
6. Symbolically (connotatively), why do you think fencing is the one activity the narrator is involved in? What does he do to
ruin his opportunities in the one activity he is actually a part of?
Fencing is a distinguished sport and one seen as traditionally “elitist” and
gentleman-like. Holden cannot even succeed in this sport where socially, he should
belong. He isn’t really on the team and manages to get ostracized by them when he
leaves the equipment on the bus.
7. Make some presumptions about the narrator based on his bad habits (smoking, drinking, swearing, out of shape, etc.). Does
he have any good qualities that are recognizable at this point in the novel?
He is carefree, and unconcerned with the norms of social etiquette and standards
for teens. He is very “normal” and not phony.
8. What do you suppose is the real reason why the narrator actually goes in to speak with Mr. Spencer before leaving Pencey.
Make an inference about their relationship.
They have a strange friendship; Holden respects Mr. Spencer, needs his advice but
doesn’t want it, and know he will miss this teacher who actually cares about him
CREATING CHARACTERS: HOW DO THEY DO IT?
Writers reveal their characters‟ traits through both Direct Characterization and Indirect Characterization
Direct Characterization- when a writer simply tells us directly what the character is like
Example: Esmeralda was the most serious person in the school. She longed for fun but was afraid of
disappointing her very stern aunt.
Indirect Characterization- when a writer reveals a character‟s traits through more subtle ways such as
1. Characters’ Appearances
Example: Esmeralda, tall and thin, wore her mouse-brown hair pulled tightly back into a ponytail. She
always dressed in a gray skirt and blouse and never wore jewelry.
Example: “Hey, Esmeralda, want to come with us to the movies?” Ginger asked.
“Oh no,” Esmeralda sighed, “I can‟t, I have a research paper to finish.”
3. Private Thoughts- this is especially important when the narrator is the main character. We get to
eavesdrop on the narrator‟s thoughts and discover what that character wants, worries about, and even
Example: I really want to be out there with everyone else, laughing, having fun with friends, going to the
movies, just belonging; sometimes it‟s all I ever think about.
Example: Leon ran to catch up to Esmeralda as she walked home. He called her excitedly and tapped on her
shoulder. She flinched—then looked away, blushing.
5. Effects a characters‟ actions have on other characters
Example: Leon, puzzled, wondered why Esmeralda was so squeamish of his friendly gesture.
More Character-Related Literary Devices/Terms
Flat Character- like a paper doll, is two-dimensional, with only one or two key personality traits
Round Character- has three dimensional qualities of real-life people, with many traits and complexities.
Stock Character- one who fits our preconceived notions about a “type” (for example, the mad scientist or the cruel-
looking villain twirling his waxed moustache)
Protagonist- the character that is meant to be the focus of our attention; the protagonist is usually a realistic, complicated
human being with just enough strengths, weaknesses, and paradoxes to remind us of ourselves
Antagonist- the character or force that blocks the protagonist from achieving goals
Conflict- a struggle between a protagonist and an antagonist
External Conflict- between the protagonist and an outside person or force
Internal Conflict- the protagonist wrestles with his or her own fear, worry, or need. Therefore, in
internal conflict, the protagonist is his/her own antagonist as well
Dynamic Character- someone who changes in an important way (gains a new understanding, makes an important
decision, or takes a crucial action) during the course of the story
Static Character- a subordinate character who is exactly the same at the end of the story as he or she is at the beginning.
Catcher in the Rye Character Analysis Chapter 3
Directions: Read the following quotes closely and analyze the characters in bold. What is being said about
their personalities through direct characterization and indirect characterization
QUOTE CHARACTER ANALYSIS
1. “If I‟m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, HOLDEN
and somebody asks me where I‟m going, I‟m liable to say
I‟m going to the opera” (16)
Holden is a compulsive liar and like to play
psychological games with people in which he
silently chuckles at their ignorance of the
2. “You should see old Ossenburger. He probably just OSSENBURGER
shoves them in a sac and dumps them in the river….Old
Ossenburger Memorial Wing, in the new dorms” (17)
A money hungry and immoral character who
is praised for his financial success and
3. “He was a senior, and he‟d been at Pencey the whole ACKLEY
four years and all, but nobody ever called him anything
except “Ackley.” Not even Herb Gale, his own roommate,
ever called him „Bob‟ or even „Ack.‟ If he ever gets A minor flat character unworthy of respect or
married, his own wife‟ll probably call him „Ackley.‟” (19) admiration; he is an annoyance to most
people and for that reason, is almost pitiable
4. “I didn‟t look up from my book. With a guy like ACKLEY
Ackley, if you looked up from your book you were a
He is quite annoying and yet lonely and
attention hungry because he is shunned by
most people. He’ll take what he can get when
it comes to friends
5. “I started groping around in front of me, like a blind HOLDEN
guy, but without getting up or anything. I kept saying,
„Mother darling, why won‟t you give me your hand?‟ …I
Holden is somewhat of a hypocrite, ranting
know it annoyed hell out of old Ackley. He always about how childish and annoying Ackley is
brought out the old sadist in me” (22) while all the time he is quite immature and
irritating himself. The difference is, Holden
acts this way on purpose. He chooses when to
push people away
6. “He was always keeping tabs on who Stradlater was ACKLEY AND STRADLATER
dating even though he hated Stradlater‟s guts” (23)
Ackley is a loser, Stradlater is worshiped,
popular, and envied by those like Ackley.
7. “Look. Suppose, for instance, Stradlater was wearing a STRADLATER
tie or something that you liked. Say he had a tie on that
you liked a helluva lot—I‟m just giving you an example,
Stradlater is liked in a superficial sort of way
now. You know what he‟d do? He‟d probably take it off for almost being too nice, and too perfect
and give it to you. He really would. Or—you know what
he‟d do? He‟d leave it on your bed or something. But
he‟d give you the goddam tie” (25)
8. “old Stradlater barged in, in a big hurry. He was always STRADLATER
in a big hurry. Everything was a very big deal. He came
over to me and gave me these two playful as hell slaps on
He is a bit condescending and doesn’t respect
both cheeks—which is something that can be very Holden or take him seriously enough to treat
annoying” (25) him like a “man”
9. “„How‟s a boy Ackley?‟ he said to Ackley. He was at STRADLATER
least a pretty friendly guy, Stradlater. It was partly a
phony kind of friendly, but at least he always said hello to
Stradlater is superficial, friendly, and so nice
Ackley and all” (26) and phony that Holden is irritated by him but
still likes him
10. “He always walked around in his bare torso because he STRADLATER
though he had a damn good build” (26)
A bit conceited and definitely a flat character
ACADEMIC LANGUAGE AND LITERARY VOCABULARY
LITERARY DEVICE - one of many rhetorical strategies used by writers in
*Note: Literary devices are seldom purposely placed into writing. They are more often stylistic
methods that writers subconsciously use to make their works effective
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE- connotative language that is NOT meant
to be interpreted denotatively
SIMILE- a comparison between two seemingly unalike things using the words
―like‖ or ―as‖
Example 1: She is like a free bird.
METAPHOR- a comparison between two seemingly unalike things that states
–or insinuates—that one is the other
Example 1: She is a free bird.
*Example 2: Free birds cannot live their lives in a cage.
*Notice that the second example does not have any key words that indicate it is
a metaphor. Instead, as a reader, you have to read closely and interpret the
―hidden meaning‖ yourself.
IDIOM- a figure of speech that is not denotative or literal
Example 1: She ate it and dropped all her books in the hallway.
ALLUSION- a reference to a another literary work of any genre (novel, short story,
tale, fable, myth, poem, specific author, culturally famous or infamous character, graphic
novel, newspaper, magazine, song lyrics, play, etc.). An allusion may be connotative or
*The narrator assumes the reader is familiar with the work and as a reader, you must be,
in order to understand the reference in context.
Example 1: The more involved I got in the situation, the further down
the rabbit hole I fell.
Complete the following…
1. Directions: Create a 4 term key for the given reading. Use 3 different colored highlighters for the
terms simile, metaphor, and idiom. Use an underline for the term allusion. Read the given reading and
use your key to locate the 4 literary devices being used in context.
2. What is the difference between an author and a narrator?
AUTHOR IS THE PERSON WHO WRITES THE LITERATURE. NARRATOR IS THE WRITTEN VOICE
TELLING THE NOVEL, THE SPEAKER.
3. Analyze the narrator’s use of language and literary devices. How would you describe his/her
COLLOQUIAL LANGUAGE AND A LOT OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE. HE IS A VERY CONNOTATIVE
SPEAKER WITH MUCH SYMBOLISM BEHIND HIS WORDS
4. Choose 5-7 words (adjectives) that would accurately describe the tone of the excerpt. How does the
narrator’s use of language, diction (or word choice), and literary devices contribute to the tone?
CYNICAL AND SARCASTIC. A LOT OF VERBAL IRONY IS USED AND A COLLOQUIAL
5. (1 paragraph response) Analyze the narrator’s character. What would you think of this person if you
met him/her today and had a conversation with him/her? How do you ―see‖ this person physically,
psychologically, socially, academically? Why?
A PARIAH, A PERSON WHO PREFERS TO BE ALONE AND IS HIGHLY PROGNOSTIC
6. Describe the narrator’s relationship with his/her parents. How do you know?
NOT A STRONG RELATIONSHIP. HE KNOWS THEM ENOUGH TO SHOW THEM RESPECT BUT
DOESN’T HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. THEY ARE NOT A CLOSE FAMILY
7. Explain what you think the narrator means by ―madman stuff‖ and what has happened to his/her life
because of it?
HE WENT CRAZY OR IS CONSIDERED PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNSTABLE
Where is the narrator currently staying and where is he/she geographically?
IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL RECEIVING HELP SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CLOSE TO
8. Describe the narrator’s relationship with his/her brother D.B.
HE IS ANGRY WITH DB FOR GIVING UP HIS ASPIRATIONS OF WRITING CHILDRENS STORIES.
HE SEE’S HIS BROTHER AS A ―SELL OUT‖ WHO NOW WRITES SCRIPTS FOR HOLLYWOOD
More Figurative Language!
Motif- any recurring element (SYMBOL) that has symbolic/connotative significance in a story. Through
its repetition, a motif can help produce other literary aspects such as theme or mood
Example: In the novel, Of Mice and Men, the symbolic ―mouse‖ that Lennie always seems to kill by
accident reoccurs several times —when not physically, it appears in dialogue or is mentioned by
the narrator. It is for this reason that the reader may begin to infer that the ―mouse‖, in
addition to it’s inclusion in the title, has a symbolic significance to the novel
Understatement- speaker makes a serious issue or concept sound less important than it really is by
talking about it in a restrained manner (a form of sarcasm or verbal irony)
Example: it’s just a harmless little brain tumor
Overstatement- an exaggeration of something, generally making it sound better than it actually is
Example: Someone donates $1.00 to a charity fund and the collector remarks, ―You are so
amazingly generous; we would never make it without a dollar.‖
Hyperbole- speaker makes a gross exaggeration of an issue or concept in order to make it sound more
serious than it really is
Example: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse
Euphemism- the replacement of an inoffensive word or phrase for one that is considered vulgar,
offensive, or unpleasant
Example: the use of ―passed away‖ for ―died‖ –or-- ―had an accident‖ for ―urinated on oneself‖
Metonymy- The substituting of one word or phrase for another related word or phrase
Example: The White House has decided to create more public service jobs. (Notice the term
―White House‖ is substituted for president)
Epithet- a word or phrase used in place of or corresponding with a person’s name; it is characteristic of
Example: Alexander the Great, Calamity Jane, Material Girl
Personification- literary device in which the author attributes human feelings or traits to an animal,
inanimate object or idea
Example: The rock stubbornly refused to move
Directions: Identify the type of figurative language being used by Holden Caulfield by writing the correct literary
device from the given word bank in the blank space provided for each sentence. You may use each term more than
once. Not all terms may be used.
Metaphor Motif Euphemism Personification
Simile Understatement Epithet Hyperbole
Idiom Overstatement Metonymy
1. ___Hyperbole_________If he was so goddamn stupid not to realize it was Saturday night and everybody was
out or asleep or home for the weekend, I wasn’t going to break my neck telling him (40)
2. ___Simile___________―So what?‖ I said. Cold as hell.‖ (41)
3. ___Euphemism________―What’d you do?‖ I said. ―Give her the time in Ed Banky’s goddamn car? (43)
4. ___Hyperbole_____He had hold of my wrists too, so I couldn’t take another sock at him. I’d’ve killed him. (43)
5. __Hyperbole_____…I kept calling him a sonuvabitch and all, for about ten hours (44)
6. ___Idiom________I don’t remember if he knocked me out or not but I don’t think so (45)
7. ___Overstatement__ I went over to look at my stupid face in the mirror. You never saw such gore in your
8. __Understatement______―I had a little goddam tiff with Stradlater,” I said. (47)
9. ___Hyperbole______―Do you happen to have any cigarettes, by any chance? –Say ‘no’ or I’ll drop dead.‖ (48)
10. __Epithet_______ But old Stradlater kept snowing her in this Abraham Lincoln, sincere voice, and finally
there’d be this terrific silence in the back of the car (49)
11.__Simile/Personification______He still didn’t hear me. He slept like a rock (50)
12. __Understatement_______ Besides, I sort of needed a little vacation (51)
13. __Metonymy______…my Gladstones kept banging the hell out of my legs…I did have a goddam Pencey sticker
on one of my Gladstones (54)
14. __Simile_____That Morrow was about as sensitive as a goddam toilet seat (55)
15. __Understatement_____It isn’t very serious, I have this tiny little tumor on the brain (58)
DICTION AS IN DICTIONARY!
DICTION- an author’s choice of words
There are many different kinds of diction in literary rhetoric and in speech. Although diction can be more simply
described by choosing appropriate adjectives or describing words, the use of the following are normally used to 1)
elicit a specific reaction within the reader 2) guide the reader to make inferences about a character or 3)
establish credibility –or lack of—in a character(s):
Archaic Words- those that are old-fashioned and no longer sound natural when used
Example: ―I believe thee not‖ rather than ―I don’t believe you‖
Colloquialism- informal speech that is widely accepted
Example: ―no way‖, ―for real‖, ―get out of here‖ rather than ―I don’t believe you‖
Jargon (technical diction)- specialized language used by a specific group of people who use and are
familiar with computers and technical equipment
Example: override, download, upload, TAB, scroll, cut & paste
Profanity- language that shows disrespect for someone or something regarded as religious, holy, or
Example: ―Jesus Christ‖ used as an exclamation
Slang- informal language used by a particular group of people among themselves
Example: chill, kick it, right-on
Vulgarity- language that is generally considered crude, gross, and more often then not, offensive.
It is sometimes used in fiction to add realism to characters
Example: *refer to ―Catcher in the Rye‖’s narrator Holden Caulfield
Dialect- spoken language peculiar to a specific region or specific group of people
Examples: consider the obvious differences between British English (Dialect 1) vs. American
English (Dialect 2)
Directions: Read the following quoted paragraph from the novel, The Catcher in the Rye. On
the back side of the page, in a one paragraph response, describe the diction Holden Caulfield
“The cab I had was a real old one that smelled like someone‟d just tossed his cookies in it. I always get those vomity kind of cabs if I go anywhere
late at night. What made it worse, it was so quiet an lonesome out. Even though it was Saturday night. I didn‟t see hardly anybody on the street.
Now and then you just saw a man and a girl crossing a street, with their arms around each other‟s waists and all, or a bunch of hoodlumy-looking
guys and their dates all of them , all of them laughing like hyenas at something you could bet wasn‟t funny. New York‟s terrible when somebody
laughs on the street very late at night. You can hear it for miles. It makes you feel so lonesome and depressed. I kept wishing I could go home and
shoot the bull for a while with old Phoebe…” (pg. 81)
Colloquial and carefree, the words of a true cynic who pretends to not care and yet,
somehow, cares too much.
The Catcher in the Rye Literature Circles: Part A (Indirect Character Analysis)
In the novel, Holden is constantly facing situations where he is in some way or another “rejected” by another
human being when sending a subliminal cry for help. Complete the chart below.
PERSON SITUATION: HOW DID POSSIBLE REASONS WHY WHAT WAS THE EFFECT
HE/SHE “REJECT” CHARACTER ON HOLDEN; DID THIS
HOLDEN? “REJECTED” HOLDEN EVENT LEAD TO ANY
1. STRADLATER Holden‟s personally touching STRADLATER IS AN DEVASTATED, HE
composition about Allie‟s INNOCENT BYSTANDER LOSES TRUST IN A
baseball glove is not
appreciated; he is instead made
OF HOLDEN’S ANGER; PERSON HE ALMOST
fun of and censured HE DOESN’T KNOW THOUGHT WAS HIS
ANY BETTER AND FRIEND
DOESN’T REALLY CARE
2. STRADLATER Holden attempts to talk about STRADLATER IS AN DEVASTATED, HE
how important Jane is to him INNOCENT BYSTANDER LOSES TRUST IN A
but his feelings are overlooked.
Stradlater further crushes
OF HOLDEN’S ANGER; PERSON HE ALMOST
Holden by disrespecting Jane, HE DOESN’T KNOW THOUGHT WAS HIS
first thinking her name is ANY BETTER AND FRIEND
“Jean” and then taking her on DOESN’T REALLY CARE
a “parked” date in Ed Banky‟s
3. JANE An unanswered question JANE HAS SO MANY HE FEELS INSECURE
lingers with the reader: does a ISSUES OF HER OWN, AND NOT GOOD
possible rejection from the past
haunt Holden; Jane seems to be
SHE IS UNINTERESTED ENOUGH FOR HER
the girl he cannot have IN HOLDEN AS A
AND NEVER REALLY
HAS A CHANCE TO
4. MRS. MARROW Holden asks her to have a drink HOLDEN IS TOO HE GETS TURNED
(EARNEST’S with him on the train but she YOUNG FOR HER,ON A DOWN BY A WOMAN
turns the offer down
MOTHER) TRAIN IN THE MIDDLE HE IS ATTRACTED TO
OF THE NIGHT WHICH CAUSES HIM
(OBVIOUSLY A KID TO FEEL INADEQUATE
WITH ISSUES), AND HIS
NOSE IS SEVERELY
WHICH FORCES HER
TO FEEL MORE
5. CAB DRIVER #1 Holden asks if driver wants to CAB DRIVER IS ON THE HOLDEN WAS JUST
have a drink with him but is JOB AND TRYING TO MAKE A
refused. He then asks “where
the ducks go”.
REALISTICALLY FRIEND; HIS ATTEMPT
DOESN’T HAVE TIME. LEAVES HIM LONELY
PLUS, HE DOESN’T AND REJECTED AGAIN
6. FAITH CAVENDISH Holden asks her out but is HOLDEN OBVIOUSLY ANOTHER FAILED
refused because the date is too SOUNDS TOO YOUNG ATTEMPT AT FEMAL
last minute. She tries to
reschedule but Holden is
FOR HER AND COMPANY FOR
uninterested. INEXPERIENCED; SHE HOLDEN; HE IS LEFT
TELLS HIM IT’S TOO DISAPPOINTED IN
LATE AND IS HIMSELF AND IN
PARTIALLY TELLING WOMEN IN GENERAL
7. 3 WOMEN AT THE All three women allow Holden HOLDEN IS TOO THIS IS ANOTHER
LAVENDER ROOM to buy them drinks and they YOUNG AND NOT REASON FOR HOLDEN
briefly dance with him, but are
indifferent about his company
FAMOUS TO LOOSE FAITH IN
WOMEN AND HUMAN
DECENCY AS WELL
8. CAB DRIVER #2 Holden asks if driver wants to CAB DRIVER IS ON THE HOLDEN WAS JUST
have a drink with him but is JOB AND TRYING TO MAKE A
refused. He then asks “where
the ducks go” and the offended
REALISTICALLY FRIEND; HIS ATTEMPT
driver replies with the “fish” DOESN’T HAVE TIME. LEAVES HIM LONELY
metaphor. PLUS, HE DOESN’T AND REJECTED AGAIN
9. ERNIE THE PIANO Holden asks the waiter to ask HOLDEN IS JUST A KID HOLDEN LIKES AND
PLAYER Ernie if he‟d join Holden for a AND NO ONE TO PAY RESPECTS ERNIE BUT
drink but figures the waiter
never delivered the message
SPECIAL ATTENTION IS STILL ANNOYED BY
when Ernie doesn‟t show. TO IN THE CROWDED THE FACT THAT
CLUB A)ERNIE PLAYS TO
APPEAL TO A PHONY
CROWD AND B)ERNIE
WON’T GIVE HIM THE
TIME OF DAY
10. SUNNY THE Holden tries to have a civilized SUNNY HAS A JOB TO HOLDEN DOESN’T
PROSTITUTE and interesting conversation DO AND SHE’S JUST WANT SEX; HE
with Sunny but she doesn‟t
respond to his social courtesy.
WORKING TRYING TO WANTS
MAKE MONEY COMPANIONSHIP AND
WHEN HE REALIZES
THE REALITY OF THE
SUNNY WON’T BE HIS
DEPRESSES HIM AND
MAKES HIM FEEL
11. JANE Holden calls Jane. When her JANE DOESN’T REJECT HOLDEN DOESN’T
mother answers the phone, he HOLDEN, SHE JUST REALIZE THIS IS NOT
quickly hangs up.
WASN’T AVAILABLE AT HER FAULT. HE HAD
THAT POINT IN TIME FINALLY GATHERED
ENOUGH COURAGE TO
CALL HER AND AFTER
ALL OF THE
SUSPENSE, SHE DIDN’T
ANSWER THE PHONE.
HE FEELS LIKE HIS
WASTED AND, HE
DOESN’T REALLY LIKE
12. ICE SKATING Holden asks the little girl to SHE IS SPOOKED BY HE SEES CHILDREN AS
LITTLE GIRL have hot chocolate with him; HIM BECAUSE HE IS A BEAUTIFUL, LOVING,
she refuses, responding by
saying “[she has] to meet her
STRANGER INNOCENT, AND
friend.” HARMLESS. HE FEELS
REJECTED BY THE
WHO MAKES HIM FEEL
13. SALLY Holden tries to talk to Sally SALLY KNOWS HOLDEN FEELS
about how depressed he is. She HOLDEN HAS ISSUES. COMPLETELY
doesn‟t comprehend his
feelings. When he admits that
SHE DOESN’T CARE MISUNDERSTOOD AND
something is wrong with him, ABOUT HIS PERSONAL DEVASTATED THAT
instead of caring, she simply STRUGGLES, SHE JUST SALLY DOES NOT CARE
agrees. WANTS HIM TO TAKE ABOUT HIS TROUBLES
HER ON A NORMAL
DATE AND LIKE HER
How many people have accepted Holden’s “cry for help” but it ended badly? Chart it.
PERSON SITUATION: HOW DID POSSIBLE REASONS WHY EFFECT ON HOLDEN
HE/SHE “ACCEPT” THE EXPERIENCE
HOLDEN SITUATION: TURNED OUT NEGATIVE
14. NUNS They accept his donation, chat HOLDEN BLOWS HE FEELS TERRIBLE,
with and have breakfast with SMOKE IN THEIR FACE UNETHICAL, AND
him. He enjoys their company
and brief conversation.
BY ACCIDENT CONSIDERS GIVING
THEM MORE MONEY
TO MAKE UP FOR HIS
15. SALLY Sally goes on a date with HOLDEN IS NOT TRULY HE IS DISAPPOINTED
Holden even though she is INTERESTED IN SALLY, NOT ONLY IN SALLY,
phony and clearly not too
interested in him.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, BUT IN HUMANKIND
SHE GETS ON HIS IN GENERAL. HE IS
NERVES AND HE COMING FACE TO
FINALLY TELLS HER FACE WITH “PHONY”
THIS ON THE DATE AT ITS WORST STAGE:
How many people have recognized Holden’s problems and attempted to reach out to him, yet, it he
rejected their help? Chart it.
PERSON SITUATION: HOW DID SITUATION: HOW DID WHY DOES HE
HE/SHE “REACH OUT” TO HOLDEN “REJECT” THIS “REJECT” THIS HELP?
HOLDEN HIS/HER HEP?
16. MR. SPENCER Has a talk with Holden and HOLDEN DECIDES TO HOLDEN IS TOO
gives him a dose of reality MENTALLY TUNE OUT IMMATURE TO HEAR
while trying to explain to him
that the “Game of Life” has
THE MESSAGE AND THE TRUTH FROM
rules that must be followed. THEN LIE ABOUT SOMEONE WHOSE
HAVING SOMEWHERE ADVISE IS TOO CLOSE
TO GO TO HIS OWN INNER
DOESN’T WANT TO
HEAR THAT HE IS
17. LILLIAN Asks Holden to join her and her HOLDEN LIES ABOUT HE WANTS TRUE
SIMMONS date for a drink at Ernie‟s. HAVING SOMEWHERE COMPANIONSHIP AND
TO GO RATHER THAN FIRENDSHIP; HE
SHARE A DRINK WITH DOESN’T THINK
HER ON HER INVITE LILLIAN IS WORTH
SPENDING TIME WITH
BECAUSE HE KNOWS
SHE IS “PHONY”
18. How do these interactions with others affect Holden‟s mental state? How do they affect his view of the
world? Do they help or hinder him? Explain.
THEY HINDER HIS ABILITY TO SEE THE WORLD FOR IT’S TRUE BEAUTY AND RUIN HIS ABILITY TO
SEE PAST THE “PHONY” IN PEOPLE. BECAUSE OF THIS, HE IS JUDGEMENTAL AND CONSITENTLY
LONELY AND ANGRY.
The Catcher in the Rye Literature Circles: Part B (Rhetoric and Repetition)
Repetition is a type of rhetoric that can reveal truths about the protagonist that would otherwise not be
recognized. At this point in the novel, repetition becomes essential to Diagnosing Holden Caulfield‟s
View the given pages. List a Quote (Effect) and a Cause for every instance where Holden mentions 1) being sad
2) being depressed 3) being lonely 4) crying 5) suicide or not living anymore 6) mentions leaving the world as he
knows it and going away from “reality”—or-- getting away 7) compares his situation with death. After completing
the chart, see if you can find any patterns or make any connections.
PG # AND DIRECT QUOTE (EFFECT) CAUSE
1) 44 “ I was almost bawling I really was” Argument and physical fight with
Stradlater over Jane and composition
about Allie’s glove
2) 48 “Boy did I feel rotten. I felt so damn lonesome” After fight with Stradlater, Ackley
doesn’t almost rejects Holden by not
allowing his stay
3) 50 “It was even depressing out in the street. You Laying in Ackley’s room thinking about
couldn‟t even hear any cars anymore. I go feeling so Stradlater on a date with Jane
lonesome and rotten…”
4) 50 “…What‟s the routine on joining a monastery? Do Laying in Ackley’s room thinking about
you have to be Catholic and all?” S’s date with Jane; Ackley falling
5) 51 “I just didn‟t want to hang around anymore. It made In Ackley’s room thinking of how
me too sad and lonesome” everyone is asleep peacefully or has
something to do
6) 51-52 One thing about packing depressed me…brand He was disappointing her by getting
new ice skates mom just sent… kicked out, she sent him skates he
7) 52 I was sort of crying Looking down the corridor, saying
goodbye to Pencey, leaving another
8) 61 I was too depressed to care whether I had a good Just ran away and checked into a
view or not. crumby hotel
9) 61 He was even more depressing than the room was Bell boy was 65, hopeless world of
10) 75 that business about getting up early to see the first Lavender Room girls don’t offer to pay
show at Radio City Music Hall depressed me for drinks and then want to go to ___in
11) 75 …it makes me so depressed I can‟t stand it. Their phony superficial, snobby, tourist
attitudes and having bad hats in NYC
12) 80 all the whory looking blondes weren‟t around So empty in the crumby hotel, everyone
anymore, all of a sudden I felt like getting the hell out has something to do
13) 81 it was so quiet and lonesome out…It makes you The emptiness of the city at night,
feel so lonesome and depressed echoing of voices and the couple
14) 84 damn near go my coat back and went back to the Earnie playing to please the crowd and
hotel, but it was too early and I didn‟t feel much like being the phonies laughing in the bar
15) 90 The more I thought about my gloves and my Imaginary interaction with the glove
yellowness, the more depressed I got thief and realizing what a coward he is
16) 90 I wasn‟t sleepy or anything, but I was feeling sort Empty lobby, just threw up from too
of lousy. Depressed and all. I almost wished I was dead. much liquor, drunk, sick, crumby hotel
smells, alone, bad night
17) 95 I felt much more depressed than sexy Sunny taking her clothes of suddenly,
with no intimacy or conversation, sex
18) 95-96 I made me feel sort of sad when I hung it up A nice dress on a prostitute
19) 98 Boy I felt miserable. I felt so depressed you can‟t Sun coming up, hungover, no follow
imagine through with Sunny
20) 99 I keep thinking about it anyway, when I get very Regrets not including Allie in activities
depressed with his friends, Regret, sadness, misses
21) 103 All of a sudden I started to cry Being robbed and held against his will
22) 103 I was still sort of crying. I was so damn mad and Got “snapped” and calling Maurice a
nervous and all moron in defense while still pinned
against a wall
23) 103 Only this time I thought I was dying…I thought I Got punched in the stomach by
was frowning or something…I could hardly breathe Maurice, lying on the floor defeated in
24) 103-104 Sort of pretending I had a bullet in my guts Got punched by Maurice and got the
wind knocked out of him
25) 104 What I really felt like, though, was committing After his bath, calming down after
suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. Maurice left, trying to go to sleep but
26) 113 I was sorry anyway…Gaddam money. It always Blew smoke in nuns faces by accident
ends up making you blue as hell and then wished he gave them more
27) 114 I knew it wasn‟t too important but it made me sad The fact that nuns are so humble that
anyway they never go anywhere fancy, but he
28) 115 It made me feel not so depressed anymore Feeling down but the kidding singing
coming through the rye cheers him up
29) 118 It made you depressed, and every once in a while Cold day, park setting: dog poop, globs
for no reason you got goose flesh while you walked of spit, cigar butts, wet benches
30) 130 Did you ever get fed up…scared that everything Date with Sally and her dismissing his
was going to go lousy unless you did something?...It‟s feelings as he tries to have an in depth
everything, I hate it…”
conversation with her and she keeps
talking about phony shallow things
31) 131 I‟d probably be someplace way the hell off. In the Fed up and sick of the city, people,
woods or some goddam place. superficialism, etc
32) 132 How would you like to get the hell out of here Wants to leave because he finally blows
33) 133 & 133I was getting depressed as hell again. Sally isn’t agreeing with his concept of
She was depressing the hell out of me the world and his theory of leaving
34. What is medically/psychologically wrong with Holden Caulfield?
Severe Depression, suicidal, bi-polar, anxiety
35. List the things that Holden has done that would worry his loved ones about him (both past and present
mentioned by Holden as the narrator) and later convince them to seek psychological help for him.
BREAKS WINDOWS AFTER HIS BROTHER DIES, GETS KICKED OUT OF SEVERAL
SCHOOL, BAD GRADES, RUN AWAY, GET IN FIGHTS, SMOKES, DRINKS, SPENDS
GRANDMA’S MONEY, ORDERS A PROSTITUTE, GETS BEAT UP, WANDERS AROUND
NEW YORK CITY ALONE.
The Catcher in the Rye Literature Circles: Part C (Analysis)
SITUATION & DIRECT QUOTE (PG#) QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER FOR ANALYSIS
1. AT ERNIE’S: Why do these type of people annoy Holden?
“You should‟ve heard the crowd though, when he was
finished. You would‟ve puked. They went mad. They
were exactly the same morons that laugh like hyenas in the THEY ARE PHONY
movies at stuff that isn‟t funny. …people always clap for
the wrong things (84)
2. AT ERNIE’S: Explain the contradiction between the two
“I ordered a Scotch and soda, which is my favorite drink,
next to frozen Daiquiris” (85)
drinks that Holden likes to order. How are
they both appropriate for him?
AN VERY SOPHISTICATED AND
MASCULINE DRINK AND A VERY FUN,
FEMININE DRINK. HOLDEN HAS A
PART OF HIM THAT IS TRYING TO BE
OLDER AND SOPHISTICATED,
PSYCHOLOGICALLY, HE IS STILL A
3. AT ERNIES’S: What does this irony indirectly reveal about
“If I were a piano player I‟d play it in the goddamn closet.”
A PIANO IS AN INSTRUMENT THAT IS
MEANT TO BE LOUD AND HEARD FROM
FAR DISTANCES; IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO
PLAY IN THE CLOSET. HOLDEN IS NOT
A REALIST, EVERYTHING HE WANTS
ALMOST GOES AGAINST HUMAN
NATURE AND COMMON SENSE
4. AT ERNIES’S: Consider the perspective of the host/waiter,
“They finally got me this stinking table, right up against a
wall and behind a goddam post, where you couldn‟t see
why was Holden seated at such a terrible table?
anything. It was one of those tiny little tables that if the HE IS JUST A KID, NO ONE SPECIAL,
people at the next table don‟t get up to let you by…you AND NO ONE THAT CAN REALLY
practically have to climb into your chair.” (84-85) CONTRIBUTE LARGE SUMS OF MONEY
TO THE ESTABLISHMENT
5. AT ERNIE’S: What about this situation makes these two
“They were around my age, or maybe just a little older. It
was funny. You could see they were being careful as hell
not to drink up the minimum too fast.” (85) THEY CANNOT REALLY AFFORD TO
DRINK AND DINE AT ERNIE’S AND
THEY ARE PRETENDING THEY BELONG
IN THAT SOCIAL CONTEXT
6. AT ERNIE’S: What about these conversations makes these
1) Guy talking to his date about football
2) Guy talking about his roommate who almost committed
suicide while feeling up his date under the table (85-86) 1) IT IS A BORING DATE FOR THE
2) SUICIDE IS A SENSITIVE TOPIC,
NOT A CASUAL CONVERSATION
TO STRIKE UP WHILE TRYING TO
MAKE A SEXUAL PASS AT ONE’S
7. AT ERNIE’S: Although Holden is lonely, why does he still
“I certainly began to feel like a prize horse‟s ass, though,
sitting there all by myself…
choose not to sit with Lillian and her date?
„Holden, come join us,‟ old Lillian said. „Bring your drink.‟ SHE IS PHONY AND DOESN’T LIKE HER
„I was just leaving,‟I told her. „I have to meet
8. WALKING FROM ERNIE’S TO THE HOTEL: Define “yellow” in the context that Holden
Refer to Holden‟s imaginary situation with the stolen glove
thief and his view of himself being “yellow” on page 88-89
uses it. Consider Holden‟s explanation of this
hypothetical situation, do you think it is
hypothetical? Why or why not?
YELLOW MEANS COWARDLY. HOLDEN
WOULD NEVER STAND UP TO THE
GLOVE THEIF IN REAL LIFE. HIS
BRAVERY EXHISTS ONLY IN
9. WALKING FROM ERNIE’S TO THE HOTEL: Respond to this quote with a Character
“I‟m just no good at it though. I‟d rather push a guy out the
window or chop his head off with an ax than sock him in the
Analysis of Holden.
jaw. I hate fist fights.” (90) A LOT OF INNER ANGER AND PENT UP
FRUSTRATION WITH PEOPLE IN
10. WALKING FROM ERNIE’S TO THE HOTEL: Explain why he didn‟t go into the bar. Then
“One thing I have, it‟s a terrific capacity. I can drink all
night and not even show it, if I‟m in the mood…anyway…I
started to go in this dumpy-looking bar, but two guys came how true do you think Holden‟s claim to be
out, drunk as hell…he kept breathing his stinking breath in able to “hold his liquor” is?
my face while I gave him directions. I ended up not even HE WAS TOO DRUNK AND THE
going in the damn bar.” (90)
THOUGHT OF BEING AROUND MORE
BELLIGERANT DRUNKS PUSHED HIS
DRUNKNESS INTO NASEAU. HOLDEN
CANNOT REALLY HOLD HIS LIQUOR
11. IN THE ELEVATOR TALKING TO MAURICE: If Holden is so nervous about ordering a
“ „Okay,‟ I said. It was against my principles and all but I
was feeling so depressed I didn‟t even think…I was already
prostitute, and regrets it immediately, why does
he not speak up and cancel?
sort of sorry I‟d let the thing start rolling, but it was too late HE DOES NOT ALWAYS ACT ON HIS
FEELINGS OF RIGHT VS. WRONG. HE
ALLOWS THINGS TO HAPPEN “TO HIM”
RATHER THAN BEING PROACTIVE IN
12. WAITING FOR SUNNY: What is your view of Holden in terms of sexual
“I was a little nervous….By the time I did get it off, she was
about ready to spit in my eye.” (92-93)
experience? What is Holden‟s view of himself
in terms of sexual experience?
HE IS NOT SEXUALLY EXPERIENCED.
HE SPEAKS AS IF HE KNOWS MORE
THAN HE ACTUALLY DOES. DEEP
WITHIN, HE KNOWS SEX TERRIFIES
HIM AND HE IS TRYING TO GAIN
EXPERIENCE WHILE AT THE SAME
TIME STAYING AS FAR AWAY FROM
SEX AS POSSIBLE
13. OPENING THE DOOR FOR SUNNY: Explain why his stumble is a comical scene
“somebody knocked on the door, and when I went to open
it, I had my suitcase right in the way and I fell over it and
that even he recognizes.
damn near broke my knee. ” (93) HE JUST FINISHED SAYING HE WAS
“SUAVE” BUT HE TRIPPED WHICH IS
NOT SUAVE AT ALL
14. OPENING THE DOOR FOR SUNNY: Why is he so easy going with Sunny but he is
“ „How do you do,‟ I said. Suave as hell, boy… „Come in
won‟t you?‟ I said. I was getting more and more nonchalant
afraid to approach Jane?
as it went along. I really was.” (94) SUNNY IS A PROSTITUTE; HE DOESN’T
KNOW HER OR HAVE ANY FEELINGS
15. SUNNY IS IN HOLDEN’S ROOM: Describe and explain what is so “depressing”
“I know you‟re supposed to feel pretty sexy when
somebody gets up and pulls their dress over their head, but I
about this situation with Sunny? Why was he
didn‟t. Sexy was about the last thing I was feeling. I felt “turned off” by her?
much more depressed than sexy.” (95) SHE IS YOUNG—AROUND HIS AGE—
AND A WORKING PROSTITUTE WHO IS
UNEDUCATED AND HAS THROWN HER
LIFE AWAY. HE IS A RUN AWAY AND
HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DO WELL IN
LIFE BUT IS ACTUALLY VERY CLOSE
TO THROWING HIS LIFE AWAY AND
CROSSING THAT THIN LINE THAT WILL
MAKE HIM JUST LIKE HER, ANOTHER
16. SUNNY SITS ON HOLDEN’S LAP: What did Sunny do that was “crude”?
Then she started getting funny. Crude and all.
“Do you mind cutting it out?” I said. “I‟m not in the mood,
SHE TOUCHED HIM IN HIS PRIVATE
I just told you…”97 AREAS BELOW THE BELT
17. AFTER SUNNY LEAVES HOLDEN’S ROOM: What does this apostrophe reveal about
“I felt so depressed, you can‟t imagine. What I did, I started
talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when
Holden‟s feelings? Analyze why he always
I get very depressed…” (99) thinks of the same memory with Allie.
HE FEELS GUILTY AND REGRETFUL.
HE IS UPSET THAT HE DIDN’T SHOW
ALLIE LOVE AND RESPECT WHEN HE
WAS ALIVE AND NOW ALLIE IS GONE
FOREVER AND THINGS CANNOT BE
18. CALLING SALLY FOR A DATE: Holden reveals that he and Sally used to date
“First she told me about some Harvard guy…that was
rushing hell out of her…Then she told me about some other
regularly. Why would she nonchalantly tell
guy, some West Point cadet, that was cutting his throat over him about all these “other guys”? Does it have
her too. Big deal.” (106) the effect she intends?
SHE IS TRYING TO GET HIM JEALOUS.
HE DOESN’T REALLY CARE THAT
MUCH SO HER PLAN UPSETS HIM
19. A FLASHBACK ABOUT LOUIS SHANEY: From Holden‟s point of view, what is “wrong”
“He was enjoying the conversation about tennis and all, but
you could tell he would‟ve enjoyed it more if I was a
with Catholics trying to find out if other people
Catholic and all. That kind of stuff drives me crazy.”(112- are Catholic?
113) HE DOESN’T FEEL ITS RIGHT TO
JUDGE PEOPLE’S CHARACTER AND
WHETHER THEY’RE WORTHY OF
BEING A FRIEND OR NOT BASED ON A
FACTOR LIKE RELIGION
20. BUYING THEATER TICKETS FOR SALLY: Explain Holden‟s annoyance with actors and
“In the first place, I hate actors. They never act like people.
They just think they do. Some of the good ones do, in a
“good actors that are too good.”
very slight way, but not in a way that‟s fun to watch.” (117) THEY ARE PHONY
21. IN THE PARK LOOKING FOR PHOEBE: Compare Holden and Phoebe as little children.
“I kept walking over to the Mall anyway, because that‟s
where Phoebe usually goes when she‟s in the park. She
Do you think he was always the way he was or
likes to skate near the bandstand. It‟s funny. That‟s the was he more like Allie and Phoebe? Explain.
same place I used to like to skate when I was a kid.”(118) Do you think Phoebe grow up to be like
HOLDEN WAS PROBABLY LIKE ALLIE
AND PHOEBE AS A CHILD BUT
CHANGED AS HE GREW UP AND FACED
THE DEATH OF HIS BROTHER. HIS
CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE WAS
DESTROYED. PHOEBE WILL MOST
LIKELY NOT BE LIKE HOLDEN. SHE
SEEMS STONGER THAN HIM EVEN
THOUGH SHE IS YOUNGER
22. AFTER THE PLAY WITH SALLY: Is Holden jealous or is he truly annoyed with
“I got bored as hell, and I said to her, „Why don‟t you go on
over and give him a big soul kiss, if you know him? He‟ll
the unethical behavior of Sally and this
enjoy it.‟ She got sore when I said that. Finally though, the situation? Explain your point of view.
jerk noticed her and came over and said hello.”(127) HOLDEN IS JEALOUS
23. TALKING WITH SALLY AFTER ICE SKATING: Why is Holden nervous and nervously lighting
“Then I sort of started lighting matches. I do that quite a lot
when I‟m in a certain mood. I sort of let them burn down
matches at the skate rink, why is he troubled;
till I can‟t hold them anymore, then I drop them in the what is he thinking?
ashtray. It‟s a nervous habit.” (130) ALL OF HIS FRUSTRATIONS AND
DISAPPOINTMENTS ARE STARTING TO
“FUSE” TOGETHER AS THE BEGINNING
OF HIS BREAKDOWN BEGINS
24. TALKING WITH SALLY AFTER ICE SKATING: Define Foreshadow. How does this part of the
“Did you ever get fed up?” I said. “I mean did you ever get
scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did
novel Foreshadow Holden‟s breakdown?
something? I mean do you like school, and all that FORESHADOWING IS THE INTIMATION
stuff?”(130) OF A FUTURE EVENT WITHIN A PIECE
OF LITERATURE. HOLDEN IS READY TO
LEAVE THE WORLD AS HE KNOWS IT.
HE IS EITHER READY TO RUN AWAY
FOREVER/FOR GOOD OR READY FOR
25. TALKING WITH SALLY AFTER ICE SKATING: Explain what Holden means by this statement,
“ „I don‟t even like old cars. I mean they don‟t even interest
me. I‟d rather have a goddam horse. I horse is at least
and what it reveals about his character. Then,
human, for God‟s sake.‟ ”(131) explain the ironic non sequitar within it.
HE APPRECIATES THE BEAUTY IN LIFE
AND NOT JUST THE MATERIALISTIC
THINGS. NON SEQUITAR: A HORSE IS
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE LITERATURE CIRCLES: PART D (LITERARY DEVICES &
Directions: Match the following terms in the box with the given quotes. There are more quotes than there are
terms so some may be repeated more than once.
Allusion Simile Idiom Metaphor
Personification Overstatement Understatement Hyperbole
Euphemism Metonymy Epithet Motif
1. ___Idiom____________“He‟s got a lot of dough now” (1)
2. ___Metaphor____________“Now he‟s out in Hollywood, D.B, being a prostitute”(2)
3. __Allusion_____________“I passed English all right …because I had all that Beowulf and Lord Randal
My Son stuff when I was at the Whooton School” (10)
4. __Understatement_____________“„Jesus!‟ he said. „What the hell happened to you?‟
He meant all the blood and all.
„I had a little goddam tiff with Stradlater,‟ I said.” (47)
5. _Metaphor______________“You’re a real prince, you’re a gentleman and a scholar, Ackley”(47)
6. __Overstatement_____“[Earnest has] never really been a terribly good mixer with the other boys”(55)
7. __Hyperbole_____________“Once I get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it” (58)
8. __Metaphor_____________“I started giving the three witches at the next table the eye again” (70)
9. __Simile_____________“I apologized like a madman” (73)
10. ___Hyperbole___________“I’d’ve bought the whole three of them a hundred drinks if only they hadn‟t
told me that.” (75)
11. __Idiom____________“I don‟t want you to get the idea she was a goddam icicle or something, just because
we never necked or horsed around much. She wasn‟t.” (79)
12. __Idiom____________“Shoot the bull” (80)
13. _Overstatement_____________“He goes to Ernies to hear Ernie play the piano.
It was supposed to be something holy.” (83)
14. __Epithet_____________“Joe-Yale looking guy” (85)
15. __Simile_____________“I began to feel like a prize horses ass” (86)
16. __Epithet_____________“His name was Commander Blop or something” (86)
17. _Motif______________“I took my red hunting hat out of my pocket and put it on” (88)
18. __Idiom_____________“I knew I didn‟t have to get all dolled up for a prostitute or anything” (91)
19. ___Metonymy____________“Caulfield and his Magic Violin” (93)
20.__Allusion_____________ “ Take Eustacia Vye in the return of the native by Thomas Hardy” (110)
21. ___Idiom____________“But we chewed the fat for a little while…that is she chewed it” (106)
22.__Hyperbole_____________ “He stepped back, and stepped right on the lady‟s foot behind him. He
probably broke every toe in her body” (127)
Directions: For the following, write whether the quote represents situational, verbal, or dramatic irony.
23. __Situational_____________“I‟m the one who‟s flunking out of the…place and you‟re asking me to write
24. _Verbal______________“I walked all the way back to the hotel. Forty-one gorgeous blocks”(88)
25.__Situational______________ “see? All I‟m takin‟ is the five you owe me. I‟m no crook.” (103)
26. _Verbal______________“Holden Vitamin Caulfield” (108)
27. _Verbal______________“[the actor] was with some gorgeous blonde, and the two of them were trying to be
very blasé and all, like as if he didn‟t even know people were looking at him. Modest as hell. (127)
28._Dramatic_______________ “What are we going to see?” she said.
“I don‟t know. The Lunts. It‟s all I could get tickets for.”(125)
UNIVERSAL THEME vs. THEME
1. UNIVERSAL THEMES (also known as Thematic Subjects or Thematic Ideas) are simply topics, which can
be stated in a single word, such as “Love.” Some examples of UNIVERSAL THEMES are listed in the
following (please note that these are not all of them):
Love Loss Money Friendship Admiration
Forgiveness Loneliness Pride Innocence Determination
Success Sorrow Honor Right vs. Wrong Ambition
Loyalty Death Prejudice Revenge Anger
Devotion Hatred Racism Equality Escape
Faith Fear Freedom Dishonesty Greed
Sacrifice Oppression Independence Friendship Justice
Romance Truth Trust Dedication Liberty
2. A “THEME”—on the other hand—makes a specific opinion/position statement or claim about a
UNIVERSAL THEME. Most pieces of literature—regardless of the genre—contain some sort of a greater
meaning/message/THEME that the writer expresses through the literature. For example:
1) In John Steinbeck‟s Of Mice and Men: Often times, what we believe to be “right” is influenced by
our personal feelings, and therefore, leads to “wrong” decisions.
2) In William Shakespeare‟s Romeo and Juliet: Love can blossom and exist through conflict, war, or
violence; love has no boundaries and therefore, it is stronger than hate.
3) In Reginald Rose‟s Twelve Angry Men: Equality and justice should rely on more than just the
personal opinion of any individual.
Directions: Complete the following table by filling in a UNIVERSAL THEME, THEME, or both in the given boxes.
Remember, a theme is overall, a generalization about life or human nature. It is a message/moral/insight about life
usually discovered through the context of a piece of literature. There is NO single way to state a theme. You and your
classmates may express a similar—or exactly the same—theme in different words.
UNIVERSAL THEME THEME
1. …can hurt people’s feelings.
2. …often leads to international disputes, and
sometimes even war.
CREATING A THEME GUIDE
HOW DO WE FIGURE OUT THE THEME?
Directions: In each box, write down questions that may lead to figuring out theme for each category.
1) How do we figure out theme by examining PLOT & CONFLICT:
WHO/WHAT IS THE PROTAGONIST AND THE ANTAGONIST
WHAT IS THE CONFLICT (INTERNAL AND/OR EXTERNAL)
HOW IS THE CONFLICT RESOLVED
WHAT IS THE CLIMAX?
WHAT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THE STORY
2) How do we figure out theme through CHARACTER ANALYSIS:
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER LIKE THROUGH DIRECT CHARACTER ANALYSIS
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER LIKE THROUGH INDIRECT CHARACTER ANALYSIS
IS THE CHARACTER A ROUND, FLAT, OR STOCK CHARACTER
IS THE CHARACTER DYNAMIC OR STATIC/DOES THE CHARACTER CHANGE OR
3) How do we figure out theme by analyzing DICTION, TONE, & MOOD:
WHAT IS THE DICTION LIKE
ARE THERE ANY DESCRIBING WORDS OR ADJECTIVES
WHAT ASSOCIATIONS CAN YOU MAKE WITH THE WORDS THAT ARE BEING USED
ARE THERE ANY FEELINGS THAT ARE REVEALED THROUGH THE SETTING AND
IMAGERY OF THE NOVEL
HOW DOES THE READING MAKE YOU FEEL
HOW DO THE CHARACTERS FEEL IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS IN THE NOVEL
4) How do we figure out theme by analyzing SYMBOLISM, METAPHOR, & MOTIF:
WHAT DO THE SYMBOLS MEAN
WHAT SYMBOLS ARE MOTIFS
WHEN DO THE SYMBOLS APPEAR AND HOW ARE THEY RELATED TO THE
PROTAGONIST OF THE STORY
WHAT METAPHORS ARE BEING USED AND WHAT ARE THEY CONNOTATIVE FOR
5) How do we figure out theme through TITLE ANALYSIS:
WHY IS THE NOVEL TITLED THE WAY IT IS
WHAT DOES THE TITLE MEAN
WHAT ARE THE CONNOTATIONS OF THE TITLE
WHAT WOULD YOU RENAME THE NOVEL IF YOU COULD
* LAST BUT NOT LEAST! LIST THE POSSIBLE UNIVERSAL THEMES
THAT COME TO YOUR HEAD WHEN CONSIDERING ALL OF THESE
QUESTIONS. What do they make you think of (love, hate, revenge, hope,
etc.)? This is always a starting point
Pre-writing & Essay Ideas
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Universal Themes : Circle the one(s) that strike you as worthy of writing about or create your own
Loneliness & Alienation Rejection Insecurity Maturity or Lack of
Regret Rebellion Hatred of ―Phonies‖ Family Support or Lack of
Loss of Innocence Anger Suspicion/Mistrust of Adults Sibling Relationships
Depression Coping with Loss or Death Fear Betrayal/Feeling Betrayed
Theme: Choose one (or combine more than one) universal theme from above and create a theme that you feel
encompasses the message/moral/insight of the entire novel. Write the theme (opinion/position statement or
claim) in this box.
Evidence: Choose and circle one of the 5 literary elements that supports and proves your theme.
1) Plot and Conflict 2) Character Analysis 3) Diction, Tone, & Mood 4) Symbolism, Metaphor, & Motif 5) Title
- How does this element lead to your theme? Explain
Textual Evidence? List quotes, ideas, and/or page #’s that will support your theme and the element that leads to
Evidence: Choose and circle a second of the 5 literary elements that supports and proves your theme.
1) Plot and Conflict 2) Character Analysis 3) Diction, Tone, & Mood 4) Symbolism, Metaphor, & Motif 5) Title
-How does this element lead to your theme? Explain
Textual Evidence? List quotes, ideas, and/or page #’s that will support your theme and the element that leads to