A Critical Look at Catcher In The Rye
Senior students in Ms. Fugo’s classes are acting as critical readers as they answer this unit’s conceptual line of inquiry: “How might a narrator’s perspective impact audience imperatives?” As students read the anchor text, Catcher In The Rye, they are exploring the perspective of the novel’s main character, Holden. In a recent class discussion, senior student Rashaun Williams commented, “It seems like there is more to this story. Holden said in Chapter 3 that he is a ‘terrific liar.’ I don’t think he is telling the whole truth about his mental breakdown, and I think his mental stress is what led him to fight with his roommate.’” Senior student Jose Torres recently turned in a written response describing Holden as “careless” person. He cited examples from the text of Holden using “casual tone” when describing getting kicked out school and not applying himself. By closely reading and analyzing the narrator’s “voice” as well as thoughts, actions, and dialogue, students are realizing how their perception of the characters and events of the novel constantly change.
Ms. Fugo’s 4th period class is also reading closely with the conceptual line of inquiry in mind. In the pictures above, students are questioning Holden’s “authenticity” by creating a T-Chart graphic organizer in small groups. As they read the novel, they are noting Holden’s actions, words, and thoughts on the left, and their inferences regarding his authenticity on the right.
This unit’s text and statement of inquiry has already sparked some interesting conversations about truth. Students have had rich discussions in response to questions posed about truth: Is it ever okay to lie? Is omission the same thing as lying? Is exaggeration the same thing as lying? Senior Melanie Santana debated with another student in class over these questions recently. She said “I’d rather get the truth when it hurts than be lied to.”
By acting as critical readers, students are refining their thinking skills as well as learning about themselves as readers and human beings.