Term Project

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Quinn and I are doing our term project on the book The Catcher in the Rye.
The Literary Criticisms we are planning on using are Reader Response and Author Intent

We plan to look at The Catcher in the Rye and through Author intent and prove that Holden Caufield is J.D. Salinger. To back up these claims we want to look at Reader Response to see what people were saying about Salinger and the book before and after the book was published.
Because it is important to look at both sides of any situation or theory we want to use author intent and reader response to disprove that Salinger isn't Caufield. We are planning to write a literary paper and sending it to an academic conference. For the presentation itself we will be using powerpoint.

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Sue and Quinn, you have picked one of my favorite books for your presentation, so, naturally, I'm excited to see what you come up with. In my Young Adult Literature class, we actually talked about whether Salinger based Holden off of himself, so this will be a nice addition to that discussion. Also, I love your goal of submitting your paper to an academic conference--that's actually one of my goals before I graduate (I want to submit a paper to an undergrad conference or other publication venue...that's on the list of things to accomplish for next semester.) Best of luck!

Greta Carroll said:

Sue and Quinn, I really, really like how you are going to see both sides of the issue and both prove and disprove your claim. I think that’s a really interesting approach to take. I also like how you are considering actually sending the paper to a conference, I think that will really help make this project very worthwhile for you both.

Catcher in the Rye is one of those books that so many people have so many different feelings about. We actually read Catcher in the Rye in Young Adult Literature this semester (so I think a lot of our class will be very familiar with the book and receptive to your presentation). It was the first time I ever read the book (I never read it in high school) and I was kind of disappointed with it. I heard from numerous people that it was a wonderful book. I also read several critical articles last semester when I was doing research on Plath’s The Bell Jar which compared the two works, and since I liked The Bell Jar, I thought I would like Catcher in the Rye. However, I ended up having a lot of mixed emotions about the book, but didn’t particularly like it. Part of this might have been the expectations I had for it, but I think part of it was also that the book is placed in the “Young Adult” genre, yet I didn’t feel as a future educator that it was very relatable to teens.

So, I guess my caution to you would be that there is more to reader response than just whether the reader perceives that Salinger is the narrator or the reader does not believe that Salinger is the narrator. In other words, is the reader’s experience of the book really affected by whether they believe Salinger is the narrator or not? I know personally whether Salinger is Holden or he is not Holden, I still don’t particularly like the book.

Jenna said:

This sounds like an interesting project. I am excited to see what you find in regards to Holden being Salinger.

Jenna said:

From the presentation day:
I thought your presentation was hilarious. You really captured the essence of Holden with Salinger's interview. I learned a lot about the historical and biographical information of Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye. This is a classic book and we learned about it in young adult literature and I wrote my final paper on it for this class. You two should go into acting :-)

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