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By using this lesson plan, educators will be able to guide students through J. D. Salinger's classic coming-of-age novel, The Catcher in the Rye. In addition to providing comprehensive character analyses, this lesson plan offers instruction in conveying the novel's primary themes, including alienation, loneliness, guilt, and innocence. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- In The Catcher in the Rye, why did Stradlater hit Holden? Holden got mad because of Stradlater's attitude towards Jane Gallagher, and he started calling Stradlater a moron. Holden threw the first punch in the fight, but Stradlater hit Holden in the face, knocked him down and gave him a bloody nose.
- Where did Holden decide to go? He decided to leave Pencey early to go to a hotel in New York and wait until Wednesday to go home to give his parents time to get the letter from school and get over the fact that he has been kicked out of yet another school.
- Who did Holden meet on his train ride? Why did Holden lie to her about Ernie? He met the mother of a school mate. He didn't like Ernie, but since his mother seemed nice, he wanted her to feel proud of her son and wanted to tell her what she wanted to hear.
- Why did Holden have to leave Ernie's? He met Lillian Simmons there and chatted with her for a while. Rather than sitting with her and her date for the evening, he told her he was just about to leave, anyway. Then he felt like he had to leave so she wouldn't think he was lying.
- In The Catcher in the Rye, what do we learn about Holden from his diversion about his gloves being stolen at Pencey in? We know he doesn't like to fight because he doesn't like to look at the other guy when he hits him. He calls himself a coward -- "yellow" -- but he is really just too humane to hurt someone else.
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