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The Catcher in the Rye

A Literature research paper on The Catcher in the Rye is part of every English 101 course. Paper Masters can writer your paper for you on The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger in 1951. If you are writing your own research paper on The Catcher in the Rye, you will want to focus on one aspect of the novel. Be sure to narrow your topic and focus mostly on Holden Caulfield and what he represents.

Some interesting facts on The Cather in the Rye are:

  • Author: J.D. Salinger
  • Published in 1951
  • Published first by Little, Brown and Company
  • Was on Time Magazine's 2005 list of best English-language novels

Based on the view of the adult world by a 17 year old school boy, the story is narrated by Holden Caulfield, the book’s main character.  You will want your term paper to point out that Holden appears to be a bit of a misfit encountering troubles with adult authority.  After being expelled from yet another school he takes a little vacation before returning home to his parents’ wrath. 

Salinger’s Holden Caulfield is a paradox in that, despite his youth, he cannot resolve himself to carelessly enjoy life but rather, he consumes himself with the world’s problems and strives to prevent those problems from influencing others. Holden attempts to become the catcher in the rye and protect the innocent of the world, the children, but he comes to realize that the inevitability of the transition from childhood to adulthood will occur even for him as he tries to avoid the burdens of growing up and taking responsibilities. Symbolism in The Cather in the Rye would also make a good research topic, as well as motifs and themes.

Holden Caulfield and the Insanity of Society

The Catcher in the Rye

During this time he describes feelings and symptoms that are obvious of a nervous breakdown.  The adults around him however, fail to recognize such problems until they encroach on their own shallow social principles.  Holden finally looks deep within himself and those around him to establish that society is ignorant to the human condition and basically nothing more than phonies.  The book report or research paper on Catcher in the Rye will seek to question the insanity of society versus the individual thus provoking thought as to where the madness really originates.

Salinger concedes that Caulfield’s endeavor to expose the inadequacies of the adult world and to preserve the innocence of the as yet untouched would have been acceptable by a much younger child. The angst that is exhibited by Caulfield is marked by the predictable rebellious behavior of youth and yet it has a depth that should be reserved for the much older or those who have experienced and had to deal with the world’s problems first hand.

Nevertheless, Salinger maintains that Holden Caulfield does none of his complaining about adults and their “adulteries” with genuine hate. While he appears far more tolerant of the obvious inadequacies of his youthful peers, he ultimately demonstrates that he has a true compassion for the adults that he has systematically ridiculed throughout. Salinger offers what may be the most concise demonstration of Holden’s “capacity for love” and a resolve for his true destination into adulthood through his final words in the psychiatric ward:

If you want to know the truth, I don't know what I think about it. I'm sorry I told so many people about it. About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about.

Disenchanted Youth and Holden Caulfield

Salinger’s Holden Caulfield is not unlike many of today’s youth who are disenchanted with life and the elements of adulthood, which they believe are responsible for theirs and the world’s problems. Even more, Holden clearly expresses the angst that has probably been experienced by many adolescents throughout history. What may set Holden and others like him apart from their more complacent peers is that they delve prematurely into the how and why of the world’s problems and strive, before they are prepared, to set about remedying them or planning to avoid them altogether.

The ramifications are evident in the fact that, at the end of his brief adolescence, Holden Caulfield needs the psychiatric help that is generally reserved for the adults he disdains. While Holden’s objectives for protecting the innocent are noble one’s, his character reminds that the years of youth are short enough and that their enjoyment may be far more conducive to preparedly entering adulthood than their dissatisfaction at what lies ahead.

Related Research Paper Topics

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Holden Caulfield as a Saint research papers examine the possibility that Salinger meant his main character in Catcher in the Rye to be better than man.

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