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English Essays

Hi everyone, Thanks for dropping by. This page consists of many essays based on the novel, THE CATCHER AND THE RYE, that I have done for my Grade 11 English class. I hope this page will give you ideas and help you write your essays.


One book we did this year was Catcher in the Rye, written by Jerome David Salinger (1919- ), an American novelist and short-story writer, born in New York city. He was educated at Valley Forge Military Academy (which stood model for Pencey prep school), and at New York and Columbia universities.


Holden Caulfield - The narrator and main character in the book.
D.B. (Caulfield) - Holden's brother who used to be a writer but is now in Hollywood.

Allie Caulfield - Holden's nice and brilliant dead brother.

Mr. Haas - Headmaster at Elkton Hills.

Mr. Spencer - Holden's history teacher at Pencey prep school.

Ossenburger - Founder(?) of Pencey after whom one of its wings was named.

Edgar Marsalla - Classmate of Holden who farted during Ossenburger's speech.

Ward Stradlater - Holden's roommate at Pencey.

Fitzgerald - Ex-date of Stradlater.

Phyllis Smith - A babe that was almost Stradlater's date.

Bud Thaw - His girlfriend is the roommate of Jane Gallagher.

Robert Ackley - Holden's dirty dormmate at Pencey.

Herb Gale - Roommate of Robert Ackley.

Hartzell - English teacher at Pencey.

Howie Coyle - Student at Pencey who is a very good basketball player.

Jane Gallagher - Holden's great love and almost girlfriend.

Mal Brossard - Bridge fiend and dormmate at Pencey.

Mrs. Morrow - The mother of his 'ass slapping with a towel' dormmate Ernest.

Phoebe Caulfield - Holden's smart and sweet kid sister.

Sally Hayes - Holden's good-looking ex.

Carl Luce - Holden's 'advisor' at Whooton school. He knew all perverts and all.

Faith Cavendish - Burlesque stripper and supposed to be an easy date.

Horwitz - New York taxidriver.

Lillian Simmons - D.B.'s ex-girlfriend that has very big knockers.

Commander Blop (or something) - Lillians date in the Wicker bar.

Two nuns - Collect dough, Holden meets them at the train station.

Ernie - Owner of and pianoplayer at the Wicker bar.

Sunny - Spooky prostitute.

Maurice - Sunny's pimp and also the elevator guy.

Mr. Antolini - Holden's teacher at Elkton Hills.

Lillian Antolini - Mr. Antolini's wife.


Moral Beliefs

Moral Beliefs are lessons about the right or wrong behaviour that is shown in a fable or event. Everyone has moral beliefs; it is hard to name them all or to even name any at all. However, situations in society help reveal and confront ones’ moral beliefs. Like Holden Caufield, in The Catcher in the Rye, conflicts and situations in society, forced him to confront his moral beliefs. The fight with Stratlater and Maurice, the confrontation of Mr. Antonlini and the many visits to the museum all were associated with Holden’s moral beliefs.

Holden is a critic in society; he believes that the major weakness in society is the phoniness. He thinks everyone he knows or meets are phonies with the exception of Jane, Allie and Phoebe. When Holden heard that his phoney roommate, Stratlater was dating Jane, he thought of her all the time. She was one or the few people Holden thought was pure and innocent. Stratlater disliked the composition Holden wrote for him about his dead brother, Allie. Holden loved his brother he believed that he was pure, innocent and lucky that he would always be carefree and in his childhood state. Holden became furious when Stratlater disrespected what he thought were valuable and innocent. When the boys fought, Holden was fighting for his morals.

Holden fears change in maturity. He believed that being an adult is hard, however he tries to be an adult by going to the lavender room and wanting to loose his virginity. However, he doesn’t succeed and doesn’t fit in. When Holden and Maurice fought, Holden just broke down and cried. He couldn’t handle the situation. That meant he wasn’t ready for adulthood after all. After the fight, Holden felt lonely and depressed, he started talking to Allie believing that he was near. At that point he wanted to escape adulthood by committing suicide. He thought that once one dies, they would never have to grow up, they’ll be carefree and maintain in their own state.

Mr. Antonlini confronted Holden’s belief in death when he said that, “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is he wants to live humbly for one.” It wasn’t proven that Mr. Antonlini was a homosexual. However, Mr. Antonlini also revealed that Holden don’t accept homosexuals. The stroking of Holden head awakened him, Holden immediately jumped to conclusions before even thinking of reasons. That showed that Holden is biased.

The museum showed Holden’s morals of growing up. The museum was the only place that he actually like and enjoyed going. He found that museum was a place where there is no change and brings back childhood memories. He liked the fact that it doesn’t change, “They were always showing Columbus, nobody gave a damn about old Columbus, but you always has a lot of candy and stuff with you….”p.120 “Then, just before you went inside the auditorium, right new the doors, you passed this Eskimo. The best thing, though is in that museum was that everyone always stayed right where it was. Nobody ‘d move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finishing catching those two fish. Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different is you.”p.120-121. This was when he realizes that life moves forward. When Holden showed the two boys where the Egyptian section was, the two boys were afraid and ran back but Holden continued to walk forward. This was a sign that Holden was ready to move on and enter adulthood and so does everyone else. This was a change in Holden’s morals of growing up.

The fight with Stratlater and Maurice, the confrontation of Mr. Antonlini and the many visits to the museum all were associated with Holden’s moral beliefs. Holden’s moral beliefs were not stated directly in this novel. However, only the reader is able to pick out some of Holden’s moral beliefs. If Phoebe asked Holden what his moral beliefs were instead of what he liked, Holden would have a harder time answering that question.

Holden Critiques the Weaknesses of Society

Holden attackes various weaknesses in our society. Many incidents in the novel portrayed Holden as a person with full of hate in society. He critiques everything that had happened to him, many of the situations that he has experienced come across in today’s society. His point of view on phonies; loosing a loved one; not remembering the true meaning of Christmas, are all the weaknesses in society.

As we read further, we start to understand Holden’s reason for hating phoneys. The many people that Holden mentioned were phonies, one being Ackley. In chapter 3, Ackley told Holden, differently every time that he was suppose to have sex one summer. This is an example of the many people in society, lying and bragging about all kinds of things. More phonies were mentioned in this novel than pure and sincere people. Ones classified by Holden as pure and sincere are Jane, Phoebe, Mrs. Morrow and the nuns. Holden thinks that there are more phonies in society than people who are pure. This opinion is true to some and not to others and will remain controversial.

Many people have lost a loved one, the way Holden is reacted is understandable. Loosing a loved one is the hardest to face for many families and friends. Leaving sadness and regret. Families, like Holden’s go through great changes, in which they must adapt to. It is hard to understand the meaning of life and death, this to Holden is impossible to accept. Keeping Allie’s baseball glove, mades him feel that Allie was still there with him, like many families who keep the belongings of their loved ones. The death of Allie resulted in Holden’s change, so to many others. People may feel bad for a long time but they have to except the fact and try to move on.

Christmas is the favourite time of year. However, Christmas to Holden it’s nothing but depression because he knows what others think, people have forgot the real meaning of Christmas. Holden’s point of view is agreeable, people worry more about what to give to others and what to receive from others, that they tend to forget the real meaning of Christmas.

Even though Holden critiques everything in life, however, he is still partially right about society. He revealed all the weaknesses in society. As a 16-year-old boy, he seems to understand the society better than most people. Society has many undesired things for everyone. Holden hates phoneys, hated that his brother had to die and sad about how people forgot the true meaning of Christmas. Society is filled with anger, sadness and happiness, all equally divided.

Who is Sunny, Morice and Faith?

Even though Holden Caulfield felt lonesome and he seemed like a loner, he knew lots and met many people. In chapter nine, page 63, Holden introduces us to Eddie Birdsell, a guy from Princeton that he had met at a party one summer. Eddie gave Holden the address and number of a girl named Faith Cavendish, who use to be a stripper. She wasn’t exactly a whore but she didn’t mind having sex once in a while. Holden was feeling horny the night he arrived in New York, so he decided to call her up. However, she didn’t see Holden that night.

In chapter 13, pages 91 through 98, Maurice was introduced. He was an elevator boy who was also a pimp, offered a prostitute to Holden. Holden at that time was depressed, he quickly accepted the offer before he clearly thought about it. Fifteen minutes later he was sent one. Later on in the story, Maurice fought with Holden due to some pricing disagreement. He punched Holden and threaten to tell Holden’s parents because he knew that Holden wasn’t twenty-two. In this novel, Maurice showed Holden’s fears and weakness.

Holden was sent a prostitute named, Sunny. Holden felt sorry for her, he thought she was quite young, nervous, impatient, skinny and seemed inexperienced. By the time she arrived, Holden didn’t feel like doing it anymore and just wanted to talk instead. He talked with her and decided it was best for her to leave. He paid her five dollars but she argued that it was ten. Then just left with five and went back with Maurice to get the other five dollars.

This was just a story I wrote, it has nothing to do with CATCHER IN THE RYE.

The Secret Gold Fish

“Fifty, fifty-five, sixty, sixty-five, seventy…” As Billy counts up his nickels and dimes from his piggy bank, he smiles as he reached five dollars. It was from two years of saving, back when he was six. He puts the counted up coins in a little decorated glass jar that he made in school last year. He leaves the broken glasses of his piggy bank and happily charges to the kitchen where his mother prepares breakfast.

The bright sun shinning through the window, hits Billy’s shiny brown hair. With his eyes wide with excitement, “Mom, I’m going to buy a gold fish, with my own money! I have five dollars all counted out!” His mom smiles warmly, “Sweetie, five dollars isn’t enough. You need the fish bowl, the rocks, the food, and it’s a lot of hard work and responsibility.”
“I am responsible. I’m a grown up now.” After minutes of persuasions, Billy’s mom finally allowed him and offered to pay for everything except for the fish. Billy bought the fish the very same day. He named him Chubster because of its bright, round body, its round puffy cheeks and its big bulgy eyes. He spent lots of time taking care of Chubster. He talked to it about his favorite Grandmother, his parents, all his secrets, all his happiness and unhappiness, anything and everything.

One day after school, Billy invited his friends to his house, to show him them his collection of Digemon cards. After they traded some cards, Billy’s friend, Kenny caught sight of Chubster.
“Hey! Cool fish! He’s so fat! He’s the fattest gold fish I’ve ever seen! What do you feed this little dope?” As he walkes towards it, Billy blockes his way, “Don’t call his that! It’s rude, didn’t people like your Granny teach you manners? Its name is Chubster, he doesn’t like strangers like you who call him fat and stuff.” Kenny was offened and went to join the others. As Billy invites his friends to his house, he realizes that all his friends notices Chubster. He invited less and less people to his house and eventually he stopped inviting them.

Every night Billy’s mom would read a bedtime story to him and Chubster before they went to bed. This time they decided to talk instead.
“Billy, how come you don’t invite your friends over anymore? Is everything ok between you and your friends?” His mom asks with concern.
“Nothing’s wrong. They always bug Chubster, I don’t like it when they go near him.”
“Why is that? Chubster is a cute little stubby old fish.”
“Don’t call him that! That will hurt his feelings. Didn’t Granny ever tell you not to call people fat and judge them?” His mom’s warm smile left and her face sank. Her eyes began to shine, not shinning from happiness but shining from the forming to tears.
“Oh, sweetie, is this whole buying a goldfish thing all because of your Grandmother?” Billy gets out of his bed and brings the fishbowl and places it on his lap, arms wrapping around it, and sits on the edge of his bed, beside his mom.
“Before Granny left, she told me that it was important to be responsible in life. Being responsible is an important sign that you have grown up. Being responsible is just like taking care of a goldfish. You have to feed it just enough food, not too much, clean its tank, talk to it and care for it, just like caring for your loved ones. She said if I was able to do that she’d be really happy. I want Granny to be happy. Mommy, do you think Granny knows that I’m a grown up now?” His mom hugs her son and nods her head, wiping tears away at the same time.
“I really miss Granny, mommy,” said Billy, looking down at Chubster as a single drop of tear fell and joined it.

Hope these essays helped you. If you have any questions please email me. Till then TAKE CARE!

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