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Group work for chapter 15-18 of The Catcher in the Rye
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The Catcher in the Rye Chapters 15-18
- Holden exhibits several instances of irrational behavior. Look up these instances in the book and explain why Holden chooses the courses of action that he does. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.
- Holden calls Sally instead of Jane; when he does call Jane, he calls several times but does not speak to her.
- Holden complains about Sally, and then says he loves her, wants to marry her, etc.
- Holden treks across the park to go to the Museum of Natural History, but doesn’t want to go into the museum when he gets there.
- Hates going to the movies and then goes to see one when he’s depressed.
- What other instances of irrational behavior did you see in these chapters?
- Holden exhibits several instances of irrational behavior, the main ones being his date with Sally, especially after the ice-skating. Create a time line for the date as though you were watching it in a movie. Pay close attention to the conversation Holden and Sally have after iceskating while answering the following questions. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.
- What does Holden want from Sally on a literal level? (What is he actually asking her to do?)
- What does Holden want from Sally on a figurative level? (why is he asking her to do this?)
- What is Sally’s reaction? Why does she react this way?
- What about Holden’s behavior might lead Sally to think he’s crazy?
- During these chapters, J.D. Saligner makes use of several symbols. Find these symbols in the book (note a page number) and speculate what they may stand for. Also answer any questions that are asked with them. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.
- His, his rommate’s and the nun’s suitcases Page number: ________ Symbolic meaning:
- The nuns Page number: ________ Symbolic meaning:
- The Museum of Natural History Page number: ________ Symbolic meaning:
- His interaction with kids in the park Page number: ________ Symbolic meaning:
- The hunting hat (Focus on the one time we see it in these chapters.) Page number: _______ Symbolic meaning:
- The drummer at Radio City Music Hall Page number: _______ Symbolic meaning:
- Several times throughout these chapters, Holden makes small comments that mean a great deal. Re-read the sections these quotes are taken from and explain their significance to the plot, to Holden, or to Holden’s mental state. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.
- Referring to Sally: “She gave me a pain in the ass, but she was very good looking.” Pg. 106
- Referring to seeing the family with the kid walking in the gutter singing “If a body meet a body coming through the rye”: “It made me feel not so depressed anymore.” Pg. 115
- Referring to the Museum of Natural History: “I get very happy when I think about it.” Pg. 119-120 (keep reading)
- Referring to his life while on his date with Sally: “Do you ever get fed up?” pg. 130
- Sally referring to Holden’s plans: “You can’t just do something like that.” Pg. 132
- Referring to himself: “I swear to God I’m a madman.”
- Several times throughout his date with Sally: “I meant it when I said it.”
- As we’ve discussed in class, sometimes a simple, small looking action or interaction can mean more. Take a look at these situations and explain the significance or symbolic meaning they may have as a whole. Make sure your answers are clear and complete.
- Holden and the nun’s discussion of Romeo and Juliet. What does he say about the nuns? Think about his view of adults and organized religion.
About this Document
Students are put into groups and asked to analyze different elements of the book--quotes, Holden's behavior, symbols, larger themes, among others. Includes discussion questions.