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How can I write a great topic sentence about Holden from The Catcher in the Rye...

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oyu55 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 23, 2009 at 9:16 AM via web

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How can I write a great topic sentence about Holden from The Catcher in the Rye "finding himself" on his journey?

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smaglione | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM (Answer #2)

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Research John Lennon's murder and his murderer, Mark David Chapman -- he referred to The Catcher in the Rye in the aftermath of this terrible event.  Your opening sentence could include the angst of finding one's self through notoriety.

Miss Mags

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM (Answer #3)

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On this same excellent topic of teenage angst:  Perhaps you may wish to explore the reference to Robert Burn's poem and "catcher in the rye" as the aspect of Holden Cauldfield's dual unorthodox sensitivity.  For, on one hand, he is pessimistic and failing at school, yet, on the other hand, he seeks a purpose to his life, wishing to stand outside the field of life that lies in wait for children and "catch" them, protecting them. Your topic sentence, then, can include the significance of the title as reflective of this duality of Holden's character.

Note: Using Burns's "Comin Thro' the Rye," tie its meaning into the topic sentence; there seems a suggestion of alienation and love both--duality as in Holden--in this poem. 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 24, 2009 at 6:40 AM (Answer #4)

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Maybe you tie in the movie Conspiracy Theory where the main character, Jerry Fletcher (played by Mel Gibson), had copies of Catcher stashed all over the place.  He saw conspiracies in everything, much like Holden.

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afi80fl | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted January 24, 2009 at 12:58 PM (Answer #5)

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Think about Holden's similarities to the Prodigal Son... does Holden basically lose everything?  While he's in the middle of a clear mental breakdown, he also goes from being a well-to-do New Yorker to kid that's renting a room at a sleezy hotel in the wrong part of town, even inviting hookers up to his room and getting beat up by a pimp named Maurice.  He tries to get drinks nearly anywhere he goes, and seeks any sort of meaningful human interaction, only to be disappointed by all of it except the time he spends with his sister, Phoebe. 

Why do we have a tendancy as young people to have to try everything out for ourselves?  Is the School of Hard Knocks really a necessary part of development?  What did it take for Holden to realize he needed to go home and try to reform? 

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 30, 2009 at 2:24 PM (Answer #6)

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Holden's 3 day journey in New York City provides the opportunity for him to finally confront his anxiety, physically exhausted and emotionally distraught, Holden finally goes home to face both his parents his parents and his fears. 

He has no choice, because of his emotional and physical breakdown.  So, at his lowest point, he surrenders, because he does not have the strength to keep fighting his demons.

In his breakdown, Holden is rescued, although it is not in the book directly, the reader can assume that his parents intervene on his behalf once he actually goes home.  He is in a mental institution at the beginning of the book.  He was put there by his parents and we know that he is trying to work through his emotional problems. 

 But he, himself, does not know if he will change, he tells us that his therapist wants to know if he will apply himself when he returns to school.  Holden does not know.  

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 17, 2010 at 10:21 AM (Answer #7)

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I think incorporating some of the lyrics from the Reliant K song "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" might be an interesting beginning.

"I watched the proverbial sunrise
Coming up over the Pacific and
You might think I'm losing my mind,
But I will shy away from the specifics...

'cause I don't want you to know where I am
'cause then you'll see my heart
In the saddest state it's ever been.

This is no place to try and live my life."

This speaks volumes about Holden's character and his struggles to integrate his fears, doubts, life experiences into a healthy-mentally and physically-human being.

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jenno2 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2011 at 11:59 AM (Answer #8)

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I think incorporating some of the lyrics from the Reliant K song "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" might be an interesting beginning.

"I watched the proverbial sunrise
Coming up over the Pacific and
You might think I'm losing my mind,
But I will shy away from the specifics...

'cause I don't want you to know where I am
'cause then you'll see my heart
In the saddest state it's ever been.

This is no place to try and live my life."

This speaks volumes about Holden's character and his struggles to integrate his fears, doubts, life experiences into a healthy-mentally and physically-human being.

ha, i love this song~~

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