GS 554 — Reimagining the Gendered Classics: The Catcher in the Rye

Our discussion of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye spawned the following:


  • The call and answer (or lack of answer) in Holden’s experiences.
  • Holden’s preoccupation with protecting innocence.
  • Authenticity versus phoniness.
  • Grief.
  • The importance of human relationships.
  • The commodification of elements of universal human experience.
  • Desperation.
  • Alienation.
  • Connection.


  • As children/teenagers form identities, which relationships are most important in their lives?
  • What can we learn from Holden about truly listening to children?
  • How can we find existential truth in fiction?
  • How can we as human beings ourselves, acknowledge the humanity of our students and their own existential struggles?
  • What narrow expectations and frameworks do we take for granted in public education? (Schedules, measurements for achievement, etc.)
  • How is Holden’s struggle a result of mainstream American values?

Food for thought:

“The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

2 replies on “GS 554 — Reimagining the Gendered Classics: The Catcher in the Rye”

  1. What You Didn’t Say
    Swallow your pride.
    Let those thoughts of yours just slide.
    There is no more left for me to learn,
    You have shown me the extent of your scorn and left me torn.
    It hurts to feel you dig deeper into what was left of me,
    to feel you tear out what you want and to know you never knew me.
    I am on the floor,
    broken, shredded and crawling to the door,
    leave your advice and lies,
    I don’t need your unfaithful ties,
    but you don’t notice the way you affect my life’s tide,
    leave me and just swallow your pride.

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