7 Original The Catcher in the Rye essay topics

The story of Holden Caulfield has been captivating readers since The Catcher in the Rye debuted in 1951. While the book was originally written for adults, students in high school and college have been enjoying the book. Their instructors have also been assigning essay topics on the novel for nearly as long as the book has been available for sale. If you have been assigned an essay for The Catcher in the Rye, you probably need a few ideas for a topic. Since the book has been around for so many years, it is difficult to create original topics. If you are stuck on finding clever and original topic, here are a few that you can use for your essay or can inspire you to other ideas:

  1. Compare and contrast Holden Caulfield’s slang with the slang of today (or another book). Analyze the power and purpose of the slang terms in The Catcher in the Rye and in today’s world (or other book title).
  2. The book has appeared on many best book lists. Should the book be on those lists? Why or why not? In order to argue this topic, you should choose qualities that make a book great and show whether or not The Catcher in the Rye includes those qualities.
  3. There is an old saying about when you need a mentor, one will appear, but this was not the case with Holden Caulfield. It seemed like was constantly searching for someone to call his mentor. Find a quote you like about mentoring and apply it to Caulfield’s experiences with his teachers and guides.
  4. A bildungsroman is a novel about a character who is coming of age. Many argue that The Catcher in the Rye is a bildungsroman and others argue that it is not. Choose a side and explain your opinion. You can use other bildungsroman novels to compare and contrast with The Catcher in The Rye.
  5. Should this book be banned? Why or why not? Many have argued that the book deserves to be on the banned book list. Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  6. The story is narrated by Holden, so he should be authentic and his words should tell the truth. Some say that young people can never tell the truth and that teens who open their mouths are always lying. Is Holden reliable as a narrator, or is he a typical teen who cannot tell the truth?
  7. Nine years after The Catcher in the Rye was published, To Kill a Mockingbird was released. These two books show the differences between being a child and being an adult. Compare and contrast these two books and how they show the world of adults and children.

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