The Catcher in the Rye Projects
Directions: Choose one of the following options for your final project on The Catcher in the Rye. Projects will be graded on effort, creativity, how well you demonstrate your understanding of the novel, and how well you complete all facets of whichever option you choose. There are many options available. Variations on any of these options must be pre-approved. You will also be required to present your project to the class. All projects should be mechanically sound and indicate a high degree of effort. This project should reflect thought and work over a period of time, not just something thrown together at the last minute. Each project requires text book evidence in some capacity. Any written portion of the project must be submitted to turnitin.com to receive credit.
Due Date _________ Point Value __________
The Soundtrack: Make a ten song mixed CD for Holden Caulfield, the movie. This could be in the past or present. In the liner notes (or in a letter to Holden), explain why you are including each of the ten songs on the mixed tape. Each song should have a paragraph of an in-depth analysis/explication/description that explains its connection to the novel, using evidence such as: themes, symbols, motifs, and situations that Holden and the novel explore. You should use text based evidence (TBE – quotes from the novel). You must also design a cover for your CD. You pick and choose which elements of the music to connect to the novel. Be artistic. The final product should look like something you would buy in a store.
Newspaper: Create a newspaper for major events of the novel. You will create a newspaper including a least four from the following: a news story, a review, an editorial, a feature story, a commentary/editorial, a cartoon, and/or a profile piece. All must be linked to the book. You should choose quotes from the book to act as your interviews, through you may embellish a bit. The different news writing styles can be found in any newspaper, but if you need help I will instruct you on how to do it. Your final articles must be put together in a newsletter template, 4 pages minimum. There should be NO white space and your final product should look like a real newspaper or magazine. Include ads, table of contents, etc.
Graphic Novel / Comic Book: Recreate the story in a graphic novel (i.e. comic book) format. Choose the most important scenes – in your view – and tell the story of The Catcher in the Rye. The quality of your project will be determined by the following: a) the extent to which your graphic novel includes the entire story of the novel, b) the quality/effort put into the art work, and c) the inclusion of an introduction in which you explain what you have tried to capture in your recreation of the novel (e.g., “I wanted to emphasize the extent to which they reject society and reveal themselves as rebels in the American spirit. I did this because… and showed it by...) You should use text book evidence (quotes from the novel) to narrate your story. This option is for the artistic student.
Holden and Depression: Research and present teen depression. This paper is not just a scientific approach to depression. This is a literary analysis using the concept of depression as a character development and thematic glue. First you should research depression in teenagers, including information about its symptoms and treatment. After doing so, look at Holden. Analyze him closely. Which symptoms does he exhibit? Use text book evidence from the story to create a “diagnosis” of Holden. Requirements: MLA format, 1000-1200 words, proper documentation, five varied sources (minimum) and good writing mechanics.
WWW – The interactive Catcher in the Rye: Design a web page that reflects all aspects of the novel. You should create a concept that will serve as a study aid and information center for people interested in learning more about the novel, understanding of the novel, exploring main themes, and relating the novel to today’s youths. The site should include: a catchy Catcher index page, pages you create to study 10 different points of the novel, graphics that make the site appealing and educational (and fun), links to other great Catcher sites, and well written content (use text book evidence). Remember, the purpose of this project is to share your knowledge with others and help others learn in an innovative way. Include as many of the following as possible: an interactive quiz, message boards, thematically linked music selections, animation, backgrounds, etc.
Holden, Ten Years Later: Write a piece of short fiction in which you join Holden’s life ten years after the story ends. Try, as best you can, to replicate Holden’s unique voice. Write it in the style of The Catcher in the Rye. Try to use what you know of him from the book along with Holden’s state of mind throughout the novel to guide your prediction. Be sure to utilize details from the novel as your springboard. Refer back to events in the novel using flashbacks or reoccurring imagery, quote when possible, and maintain the major themes of the novel. Requirements: Title page with title, introduction that details what you attempted to do, how you did it, and a self-assessment, 1000 words minimum, typed.
The Catcher in the Rye Board Game or Video Game: Take your close reading of the novel and turn it into a game! Be sure to use text book evidence. The purpose of this project is to share your knowledge with others and test them on theirs. While you may have superficial questions, the bulk of your questions should explore deeper levels of analysis. You may model your game on an existing game (i.e., Cranium) or create your own. The game should help others learn in an innovative way. Use your class notes for ideas. Remember, Holden goes on a type of journey, so you may incorporate this into your game.
Holden’s Scrapbook: Compile a scrapbook of memorabilia that Holden might have collected or come across during the novel. All artifacts must be captioned with where he got it, its significance to him, and the page you found it on. Think of the images that keep recurring in the novel, the places to which Holden travels, and anything he collects. This project will be assessed based on the amount of memorabilia for your scrapbook. Each item should have at least a paragraph explaining its significance. You should use text book evidence to support your items: you will demonstrate where it was found and then explain the significance.
Photographic or Artistic Montage: Create a photo documentary of the places in Manhattan that Holden visited and also represent with flair the other places he visited. If painting, collage, or drawing is your thing, draw these places. Compile montage of scenes depicting Holden’s adventures. All pieces must be captioned with a paragraph that explains it, its significance, and incorporate text based evidence to support your theory. Think of the images that keep recurring in the novel, the places to which Holden travels, etc. This project will be assessed based on the number of scenes depicted and explicated. As a benchmark, expect to get at least 10 scenes. This option is for the artistic student.
The Secret Goldfish: We hear a brief description of the plot of Holden’s brother D.B.’s story “The Secret Goldfish” early in the novel. Try your hand at short fiction, as you use the details from the description and write a story out of it. Your story should include dialogue and vivid descriptions. The story should reflect some of the main ideas Holden values in the novel. You might want to consider turning the story into an illustrated children’s book. After all, it was his favorite. Your story must explore the theme or themes of the novel that Holden values. Requirements: Title page with title, introduction that details what you attempted to do, how you did it, and a self-assessment, 1000 words minimum, typed.
Catcher in the Rye: The Motion Picture. Choose a scene/montage of significant event/s in The Catcher in the Rye and turn it/them into screenplay. You should use text book evidence. Requirements: an 8 page script that follows movie script format including setting, camera shots, and cast descriptions (who you want to play who), typed. Video tape the scene/s with friends and do a great job editing: you are a Hollywood producer!
The Tool of a Madmen Write a research project covering the following: John Hinckley, who attempted an assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon in 1980, both brought The Catcher in the Rye into the national spotlight. Hinckley told the court that his defense could be found in the novel’s pages, while Chapman had asked Lennon to sign his copy of the book earlier in the same day he killed him. Find what you can about both of these instances – how was The Catcher in the Rye involved in each? Are there other murderers who identify with the novel? Analyze Holden’s criminal potential based on sound criminal psychology that you researched. Requirements: MLA format, 1000 words, typed, proper documentation, use of text based evidence to connect the research to the novel, and good mechanics.
Music or Poetry: Write 5 songs/poems that illustrate points in the novel that are meaningful. You may also incorporate Salinger’s short stories, his life, and analysis of the text(s). For each song/poem, be sure to include a paragraph explication/analysis (minimum) that connects what you wrote to the novel using text based evidence. Compose the music to accompany the lyrics.
Children’s Book: Write an illustrated children’s book that addresses an audience of children on what Holden knows about the world. In other words, educate children on the realities of the world as Holden perceives them. Be sure to use text based evidence in your narrative and to have short narrative on each illustrated page, minimum of 10 pages. Or, you may consider doing a children’s version of the novel.
The Catcher in the Rye as an Odyssey: Reread Homer’s Odyssey (from your freshmen year in the textbook) or Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and write a critical essay that compares the two. Proper literary analysis and documentation is expected. Develop an in-depth analysis of both the similarities and differences of the texts and look at how J.D. Salinger’s story is inspired by this text.
Holden and ?: Compare The Catcher in the Rye with another novel such as To Kill a Mockingbird, a television show like “The Wonder Years”, or a movie that describes the loss of innocence and the attainment of maturity. Compare and contrast the characters of ? and Holden. Explain which presents the most convincing picture of growing up; use text based evidence. This is not simply a movie review. This is a literary analysis of both works examining them as Bildungsromans (coming of age, growing up stories). Requirements: MLA format, 1000 words minimum, and good mechanics.
Other idea? Propose another topic that will demonstrate your close reading of the novel in a creative way.