Illustration of a man smoking a cigarette

The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

Start Free Trial

The Catcher in the Rye Essay Topics and Outlines

by eNotes

  • Released July 06, 2022
  • Literature subject
  • 8 pages
Purchase a Subscription

Grade Levels

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12


Suggested Essay Topics: Chapter 3 - 1. Holden says that a book is good if, when you are finished, you wish the author were a personal friend of yours so you could call him on the telephone whenever you feel like it. What authors do you wish were your personal friends? What would you like to say to them?


The following Suggested Essay Topics are some ideas for papers that may be written on The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. The suggestions are designed to provide you with both a starting point and a general orientation from which you can write a substantial analytical paper. They are designed to showcase your understanding of major characters, themes, and details from this work as a whole.


Following the Suggested Essay Topics are Sample Essay Outlines you can use as organizational models or even as starting points for writing an analytical paper. Each outline begins with context and a prompt, followed by a thesis statement related to the work, and offers a basic sketch of how an analytical paper could be structured to argue that thesis. They do not, however, substitute for original thinking on your part. In order to fill in the outlines, you will have to think about the themes and draw your own conclusions. In some cases, you may also have to do further research, though this is not necessary with every suggestion. You should not use the exact words of this or any other resource without giving credit to the source.


The ideas, prompts, and suggestions that follow represent many different levels of difficulty, and some of the outlines are more complete than others. If you wish to use one, you should not make a selection at random. Look through several until you find one that seems right. Do not then begin writing immediately. It is best to think things over carefully before putting words on paper. Writing is a highly individual activity, and you should never feel bound to any of the outlines. On the contrary, you should feel free to modify or adapt any outline toward your purposes. Further guidance can be found in the “How to Write” guides of the eNotes Essay Lab ( or by asking one of our tutors a question about your essay (