The Catcher in the Rye” Student Packet The Catcher in the Rye Anticipation Activity

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The Catcher in the Rye”

Student Packet

The Catcher in the Rye Anticipation Activity

The September 2006 cover of The New Yorker featured the inner workings of a teenage brain. As you can see, it’s very outdated. In anticipation of our next text, Catcher in the Rye, which gives us an in depth look at Holden Caulfield’s teenage mind in the 1950s, let us first ruminate on what occupies the mind of a 2016 Segerstrom High School student.

On a separate piece of paper, please draw:

  1. The inside of your brain OR

  2. The inside of a typical teenage GUY’s brain at SFHS OR

  3. The inside of a typical teenage GIRL’s brain at SFHS

Your drawing needs to…

  1. Represent the things that occupy your mind and how much space they take up. In other words, if you spend a lot of time thinking about what you are going to eat for lunch, then draw that proportionate to your other items.

  2. Use both words and pictures in your brain. Please note: this differs slightly from the example below.

  3. Be colored and outlined nicely for maximum aesthetics.

  4. Take up the entire paper so we can see your brain clearly.

J.D. Salinger

Born: 01-01-1919

Died: 01-27-2010

Pre-Reading Questions:

  1. What do you think is the definition of a phony?

  2. Where do you find phonies or phoniness? How do you know you’ve found a phony?

  3. Have you ever felt alienated or disconnected with people or a situation around you? If so, explain.


Catcher in the Rye Reading Comprehension Questions

Directions: As we read the novel, answer the questions below on a separate sheet of paper and attach them to this packet.

Chapter 1-2

  1. What does Holden (the narrator) reveal about his brother, D.B.?

  2. What is Pencey Prep like and how does Holden feel about it?

  3. Who is Selma Thurman and what does Holden say about her?

  4. What event was going on at Pencey while Holden was on Thomsen Hill and why was Holden missing the event?

  5. Who is Mr. Spencer and why is Holden going to visit him?

  6. How is Holden doing academically?

  7. How does Holden describe the scene in Mr. Spencer's house?

  8. What advice does Mr. Spencer give Holden and how does Holden react?

  9. What does Holden reveal about his communication with his parents about his issues?

  10. What does Holden reveal about his level of maturity?

  11. Why has Holden failed history? What was his essay like and what "note" did he write Mr. Spencer?

  12. When Holden stops paying attention to Mr. Spencer's speech, what is he thinking about?

  13. What happened at Holden's previous schools?

Chapter 3-4

  1. What does Holden reveal about lying?

  2. Who is Ossenburger and what happens during his speech?

  3. Describe Holden's hat.

  4. How does Holden feel about reading? What books does he mention?

  5. Describe Robert Ackley.

  6. How does Holden feel about Ackley? How would you describe their conversation?

  7. What does Ackley say about Holden's hat?

  8. What do we learn about Ackley's hygiene?

  9. How do Ackley and Stradlater feel about one another?

  10. What has Stradlater been doing and why has he come back to the dorm?

  11. How does Holden describe Stradlater?

  12. Why is it funny that Stradlater wants Holden to write his paper? What is the paper supposed to be about?

  13. What does Holden do to Stradlater as he's shaving?

  14. What information does Holden reveal about Jane Gallagher? Based on the way he talks about her, how do you think Holden feels about Jane?

 Chapter 5-6

  1. What does Holden do with Mal Brossard and Ackley?

  2. What does Ackley say about his own sexual experience and what does Holden think about Ackley's conversation?

  3. What does Holden reveal about his brother Allie and what he was like?

  4. What did Holden do when he found out that Allie was dead?

  5. What does Holden write about for Stradlater's composition?

  6. How do Holden and Stradlater interact with one another when Stradlater gets home late from his date with Jane?

  7. Why is Stradlater upset about the composition? How do Holden and Stradlater differ in their understanding of rules?

  8. Describe the conversation that transpires between Stradlater and Holden about Stradlater's date with Jane. What does this conversation reveal about Holden?

  9. Describe the physical fight between Stradlater and Holden.

 Chapter 7-8

  1. Where does Holden go after his fight with Stradlater?

  2. What does Holden keep thinking about? What does he reveal about Stradlater's past?

  3. Based on what he says to Ackley, how do you think Holden feels about religion?

  4. How and why does Holden plan on leaving Pencey that night? Why can't he go home immediately?

  5. What does Holden reveal about the ice skates from his mother?

  6. How does Holden get to the train station and how does he feel about trains?

  7. Whom does Holden notice on the train?

  8. What does Holden tell Ernest Morrow's mother about her son?

  9. What is Ernest Morrow actually like?

 Chapter 9-10

  1. Whom does Holden consider calling from the pay phone at Penn Station? Whom does he actually call?

  2. What question does Holden ask the cab driver that makes the driver think he's crazy?

  3. When did this question come up before and why do you think he asks it?

  4. What was the Edmont Hotel like? Describe the scene at the hotel when Holden arrives.

  5. Who is Faith Cavendish and how did Holden learn about her?

  6. Describe the conversation between Faith Cavendish and Holden.

  7. Who is Phoebe? What is she like? How does Holden feel about her?

  8. What is Holden's interaction with the bartender like?

  9. Describe Holden's interactions with the girls at the bar.

 Chapter 11-12

  1. How does Holden describe Jane? How did Holden meet Jane?

  2. What do we learn about Jane's family life?

  3. Describe the afternoon when Jane and Holden had an intimate encounter.

  4. How does Holden feel about Jane and what details does he reveal about her that show how much he cares?

  5. What does Holden argue with the cab driver about? (it should be something familiar).

  6. How does Holden describe old Ernie at the piano?

  7. What does Holden say about the people surrounding him at the bar?

  8. Who is Lillian Simmons and what is she like?

Chapter 13-14

  1. What happened with Holden's gloves? What does his reaction say about him?

  2. What does the elevator operator offer Holden? How does Holden respond?

  3. What does Holden reveal about his level of sexual experience and what is his philosophy about sex? What concerns does he have about sex?

  4. Based on her actions and statements, how does the prostitute treat sex?

  5. How does Holden ultimately handle the situation with her and why do you think he ends things the way he does? What do he and the prostitute argue about?

  6. How does Holden feel about his interactions with Sunny and what does he reveal about the way he usually tries to sort out his issues?

  7. What are Holden's religious views?

  8. What does Holden fight with Maurice about and how do things end between them?

Chapter 15-16

  1. Who is Sally Hayes? How does Holden describe her and what does he think of her?

  2. What do we find out about Holden's father?

  3. What story does Holden tell about the suitcases? What does this story say about Holden?

  4. What does Holden give to the nuns?

  5. What did the nuns do for a living?

  6. What does Holden say about Romeo and Juliet?

  7. What does Holden think about Catholics?

  8. When he reflects on his encounter with the nuns, how does Holden feel about them?

  9. What is Holden's reaction when he hears a man singing "if a body catch a body"?

  10. Why does Holden want to find a record store?

  11. What happens when Holden tries to call Jane?

  12. Where does Holden plan on taking Sally and why?

  13. How does Holden feel about the movies and actors?

  14. What does Holden say about Hamlet?

  15. Describe the Museum of Natural History.

 Chapter 17-18

  1. How does Holden describe the people in the lobby of the theater?

  2. How would you characterize Holden and Sally's initial interactions?

  3. How does Holden feel about the show?

  4. What is Holden's reaction when Sally sees a guy she knows? What does that say about Holden?

  5. Why does Holden think Sally suggests going ice-skating?

  6. How does Holden describe his experience at Pencey/all-boys schools?

  7. What does Holden tell Sally he wants the two of them to do together? Does this seem to fit with his usual personality? How does Sally react to his plan?

  8. What does Holden think about regarding Jane Gallagher?

  9. Who is Carl Luce? What is he like and what does Holden think of him?

  10. How does Holden describe his experience watching the movies at Radio City?

  11. What details does Holden reveal about D.B.?

 Chapter 19-20

  1. How does Holden describe the Wicker Bar?

  2. What sort or talks did Holden have with Carl Luce in the past?

  3. What is the relationship between Holden and Carl like at the bar?

  4. What does Holden imagine happens to him at the bar (p. 150)?

  5. How does Holden behave when he's drunk? What sort of things does he do?

  6. What happens to Phoebe's record and how does it make Holden feel?

  7. What do we find out about Allie's funeral?


Chapter 21-22

  1. How does Holden get the elevator boy to take him up to his parents' place?

  2. What issues does Holden encounter and/or worry about when he gets to the apartment?

  3. What does Holden find in Phoebe's notebooks?

  4. How would you characterize the relationship between Holden and Phoebe? What do they talk about? What are their attitudes toward one another?

  5. What does Holden say about why he got kicked out and how he felt about Pencey? How does Phoebe react to Holden's responses?

  6. Who was James Castle and why do you think Holden thought about him at that moment?

  7. What is the one thing that Holden says he likes when Phoebe says he doesn't like anything and why do you think it is significant?

  8. What does Holden say about the Robert Burns poem? How did he imagine the scene from the poem? What does Phoebe say about the way he interpreted the poem?

 Chapter 23-24

  1. Who is Mr. Antolini and why does Holden like him?

  2. What does Holden say about Phoebe's dancing abilities?

  3. What happens when Holden's mom comes into Phoebe's room?

  4. What does Phoebe give Holden and how does he feel about it?

  5. What does Holden reveal about his issues in Oral Expression?

  6. What sort of talk does Mr. Antolini give Holden when he finds out he is failing? What does Mr. Antolini worry about with regard to Holden's future? What does he say about education?

  7. What does Mr. Antolini do that changes things with Holden and how does Holden react?

 Chapter 25-26

  1. How does Holden's opinion of Mr. Antolini change at Grand Central station?

  2. What sort of magazine article does Holden read and what does it make him think?

  3. How does Holden calm himself down when he gets scared while he's walking?

  4. What does Holden plan on doing to escape everything?

  5. What sort of graffiti does Holden see and what does he say about it?

  6. Why does Phoebe fight with Holden?

  7. At the end, where do we find out Holden is telling his story from?

The Catcher in The Rye Final Project: Holden’s Journal

At the end of this unit you will be turning in a copy of Holden’s Journal using the prompts below. You are required to complete one journal entry for every two chapters for a total of 13 entries. By the way, the final journal entry: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover, is REQUIRED (must be included in your total of 13 entries). All journal entries must be a minimum of ten sentences – 10 quality sentences! Additionally, all journal entries should be typed and this should look like an actual journal. In other words, this project should have a creative cover and the journal should be bound in some way. Lastly, you will be required to submit all of your journal entries (minus the cover page) to

I remember…

Have you ever noticed that one memory leads to another, which leads to another? This is called memory association and it is what Holden does throughout most of the novel. Sometimes two ideas that have nothing to do with each other can be connected. For example, peanuts make me think of my dad; that’s because he is always eating peanuts. If I wrote this in a sophisticated form of writing called stream of consciousness writing – writing whatever comes to your mind without punctuation – it would look something like this:

Peanuts make me think of my dad which makes me think of laughing which makes me think of my friends which makes me think of going out which makes me think of…”

You will be creating a stream of consciousness journal. Your starting topic is school.
Just the Way I Liked It

Holden’s hunting hat means a lot to him. Your task is to write all about Holden’s hat. Explain how he got the hat. Have you noticed anything about it? Which way does he like it? How does he act when it is to the back? Discuss the color. Discuss what the hat symbolizes. What purpose does the hat serve for Holden? Include quotes about his hat.
It Just About Killed Me

J.D. Salinger’s diction (word choice) for Holden Caulfield is unique and interesting. His voice is easily distinguishable among literary characters. In your journal, pretend you are Holden and write a half page entry about something that interests him. Try to really capture Holden’s voice in the assignment.

Jane’s Kings

It is apparent that Holden cares very much for Jane. It seems she is the only person he really likes. One thing Holden really likes is that Jane “kept all her kings in the back row.” He hates, and even punches, Stradlater because he doesn’t care about Jane’s kings. In your journal, write why you think it is significant that Jane keeps all her kings in the back row. Explain what this metaphor means.

Throughout the novel, Holden develops aliases and pretends to be other people. Pick one of Holden’s aliases and describe the situation. Who is he talking to? What kind of person does he become? What are some possible reasons why he became someone else?
Would You Like to Use Your Life Line?

Throughout the novel, Holden attempts to call many people for help. Holden wants to call Jane several times, but never does. Write about your lifeline, the person that would be there for you when you needed it most. Who are they? What do they provide you that others do not?

In the middle of the novel, Holden goes into great detail about suitcases. The suitcases act as a metaphor. What does he say about them? What is Holden really talking about when he discusses the suitcases?
The Liars Club

Characters like Holden are often referred to as unreliable narrators. This means you cannot rely on them to tell the complete truth. They will only tell you what they want you to believe. In your journal, write about at least one example from the novel where Holden may not be telling the whole truth. Is he making things up or leaving things out? What does this make you feel about him?
The Museum

The one place Holden feels comfort and happiness is in the museum. Why does he like it there so much? What specifically does he say about it? Do you have a place that you look back on to feel safe and happy? Describe this place using as much physical and emotional detail as you can. What is the significance of the museum to Holden? Support your answer with the physical and emotional detail Holden uses.

Although Allie, Holden’s brother, is not actually alive in the novel, he is an important character. Holden even talks to him throughout the novel. This is called an apostrophe. Why is he so important to understanding this novel? Describe Allie with as much detail as you can. What effect does Allie’s death have on Holden? Does Holden blame himself for Allie’s death? What do you think about the situation?
The Patterns of Your Mind

When Holding is visiting with Carl Luce, he says that his father is a psychoanalyst and can help him to “recognize the patterns of his mind.” What does this mean? Was Holden asking for Carl Luce’s company because he was lonely, or was there an ulterior motive? Pretend you are a psychoanalyst and Holden has come in for an appointment. Write down the notes you would take to help Holden “recognize the patterns of his mind.” Be sure to include what you think the patterns of Holden’s mind actually are.
Allie’s Funeral

Holden informs readers that he did not attend Allie’s funeral. What was his reason why he did not? What are your thoughts on this? What is the significance of Holden not being at Allie’s funeral? Does if affect him? Why or why not?
Mr. Antolini

The scene where Holden goes to stay with Mr. Antolini is one of great controversy. Do yone have any questions or comments about that scene? One idea that has been suggested is that Mr. Antolini could be a homosexual. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that Mr. Antolini is a homosexual? Why or why not? Support your answer. Do you think it is important to the story to know if he is or is not? Do you think it should be a controversy?
I Am Holden Caulfield

The characters in this novel are very distinguishable from one another. They have certain traits that make them who they are, just as we do. What characters in this novel do you like? Why? What characters do you not like? Why? Choose one character, other than Holden, in the novel and describe them with as much detail as you can. Write down your favorite quotes or scenes from them. Also, record your feeling about them.
Signs and Symptoms

Holden is dealing with some very serious problems in this novel; one of them being depression. Depression is not simply feeling sad, but what is it? What can it lead to? What effect does it have on a person? What can be done to help? As the novel progresses, Holden sinks deeper into depression. How can you tell? Record some of the signs and symptoms of depression that Holden displays. Record any thoughts or feelings you have about depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression






Chronic fatigue, lack of energy

Crying spells

Frequent self-criticism


Sleeping too much or too little

Withdrawal from others



Overeating or loss of appetite

Neglect of responsibilities




Loss of interest in personal appearance

Impaired memory and concentration

Mood swings

Weight loss or gain

Loss of motivation

Indecisiveness and confusion

Lack of emotional responsiveness

Irregular menstrual cycle


Tendency to believe others see you in a negative light


Loss of sexual desire

Thoughts of death and suicide


Unexplained aches or pains

A Terrible Fall

Mr. Antolini tells Holden he sees him “riding for some kind of terrible fall.” What literary device is this an example of? (Foreshadowing) What other words or wisdom does Mr. Antolini have for Holden? Does Holden understand and take to heart what Mr. Antolini tells him? Why or why not? Should he? Do you always listen to the advice of others? Should you?


Holden states several times throughout the novel that he feels as if he is disappearing. Particularly at the end of the novel he more frequently states he feels this way. What is the significance of this? What could it mean? Have you ever felt like you were disappearing? Develop another analogy someone could use for feeling depressed. Record the page numbers and the exact quotes for Holden’s disappearing.
On the Wall

When Holden finds the “F**k You” on the wall, how does it make him feel? What does this show the reader about Holden? What does the “F**k You” symbolize? How would you feel if you saw that written on the wall of your school, or a place where children were? What connotation (feelings) do those words evoke?

In one of the most powerful scenes in the novel, Holden takes his sister Phoebe for a ride on the carousel in Central Park. Why is this scene so important? How did it make you feel? Many people believe that Holden makes a breakthrough in this scene. Do you agree? If you do, what kind of breakthrough does Holden make? How would you feel if you saw that written on the wall of your school, or a place where children were? What connotation (feelings) do those words evoke?

There are many symbols throughout this novel. A symbol is something chosen in a novel to represent something else. Name a few symbols in the novel and some possibilities for what they represent. Choose one symbol from the novel The Catcher in the Rye and write a paragraph explaining what it symbolizes.
Holden Caulfield: A Rock

Music often allows people to express their innermost feelings and thoughts. Songs can be very complex, containing metaphors, similes, and other literary devices. Music can also help people connect ideas. Two songs that remind me of Holden Caulfield are “I am a Rock” and “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel (see lyrics below).
Find a song that relates to any theme or person in The Catcher in the Rye. Write down or print out a copy of the lyrics. Write a paragraph comparing the lyrics to your subject.

I am a Rock

By Simon and Garfunkel

In a deep and dark


I am alone,

Gazing from my window to the streets below

On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I've built walls,

A fortress steep and mighty,

That none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.

It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.

I am a rock,

I am an island.
Don't talk of love,

Well I've heard the words before;

It's sleeping in my memory.

I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.

If I never loved I never would have cried.

I am a rock,

I am an island.
I have my books

And my poetry to protect me;

I am shielded in my armor,

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.

I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a rock,

I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

The Sound of Silence

By Simon and Garfunkel

Hello darkness, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

'Neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night

And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence
"Fools", said I, "You do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you"

But my words, like silent raindrops fell

And echoed

In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls"

And whispered in the sounds of silence

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

As you may have learned in the background information provided, J.D. Salinger was a very private man. He took his personal life, as well as his writing, very seriously. According to Salinger, after a certain point, he would only allow his books to be published with a plain white cover. He did this to make people read the book for what it was, and not for what it looked like. Design a cover for The Catcher in the Rye. You may use any medium you choose (the computer, paint, crayons, photographs…). Your cover does not have to be a scene from the book. You may represent this novel in any appropriate way you choose. Your finished product will become the cover for your journal!

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