Catcher_in_the_Rye_cover.jpgThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The novel's protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion and defiance. Written in the first person by J. D. Salinger, this story follows Holden Caulfield’s experiences in New York City in the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep, a college preparatory school.

Catcher Questions

1. Catcher in the Rye is an account of the breakdown of a sixteen-year-old boy. Aside from Holden's emotional problems, the first few pages give you clues as to his physical state. What is his physical state? (see pages 1-5 and later 140)
2. What are some of Holden's complaints about Pencey Prep?

3. What do you think Holden's "quest" is? In which ways is it like an archetypical quest in literature?
4. Is Holden guilty of some of the things he accuses others of doing? Explain.
5. How does his history teacher and classmates aggravate Holden's need for sympathy? Why does he yell, "Sleep tight, ya morons," as he leaves Pencey prep? (p. 69)
6. What does Holden mean when he says "Mothers are slightly insane"? (p. 55)
7. What does Holden mean when he states, "I'm always saying `Glad to've met you' to somebody I'm not glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to do that stuff, though." (p. 37)
8. Who are Holden's heroes?
9. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
10. Explain J.D. Salinger's title, The Catcher in the Rye.
11. Why is Holden expelled from Pencey Prep?
12. The motto at Pencey is that it "molds" students. Relate this to Holden.
13. List five different things that Holden does while in Midtown New York.
14. Identify the following characters and explain Holden's attitude toward each of them: Spencer, Ackley, Stradlater, Sally Hayes, Mr. Antolini.
15. Name a few of the disappointments Holden has encountered since he came to NYC.
16. Who are the people in the novel that Holden Likes? Why does he like these characters and dislike others?
17. How does Holden feel about the world in which he lives? Are his reactions to the world negative or positive? Explain.
18. Although his motives (homosexual/parental) are never clarified, Mr. Antolini's caressing Holden has an intense affect on Holden. Why is this act so devastating?
19. What is the symbolic significance of the red hunting hat?
20. Catcher can be divided into three parts. Where does each part begin?
21. Which parts of Holden are "typical teen-ager" and a product of his upbringing?
22. What is his reaction to the foul words in the museum?
23. What is going on with Holden watching Phoebe on the carousel? What new "truth" does Holden learn?
24. Does Holden belong in a sanitarium?
25. Some critics have characterized this book as a "Peter Pan Syndrome." Explain what you think a "Peter Pan Syndrome" is?

Fan Fiction and Poetry Project

The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Source: Reading Group Guides

From the author of the number one New York Times bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie comes this long-awaited follow-up, an enchanting, beautifully crafted novel that explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.

Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. As the park has changed over the years -- from the Loop-the-Loop to the Pipeline Plunge -- so, too, has Eddie changed, from optimistic youth to embittered old age. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his -- and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you've ever thought about the afterlife -- and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.


STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN - Metaphor Lesson Link

Mitch Albom's Band: The Rock Bottom Remainders (all published authors)

3-2-1- Activity for The Five People you Meet in Heaven

- Students will list THREE important themes from the text. Themes must be in statement format, not just one or two word responses.

- Students will list TWO characters from the novel they could relate with/to. Students must explain how they could relate to each character in sentence format.

- Students will formulate ONE lesson or insight learned about life from reading the story. Students should try to avoid using one of the lessons that Eddie learned in the story, rather try to connect the text to your own life.

Writing a Book Review (with on-line posting features) for The Five People you Meet in Heaven

On-Line Quiz

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays_with_Morrie.jpg Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world. - Book Browse

Home Page

Lou Gehrig's Speech

ALS Informational PSA

Living with ALS Music Video

Creating Your Own ALS Event

ReadWriteThink Lesson Plans

Ted Koppel interview with Morrie Schwartz (one)

Ted Koppel interview with Morrie Schwartz (two)

The Mitch Albom Show

Mitch shares his recorded tapes of Morrie Schwartz

Creating a PSA (Public Service Announcement)

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the "roaring twenties" and a devastating expose of the Jazz Age. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions that lined the Long Island shore of the American seaboard in the 1920's, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchannan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery that surrounds him.

The Great Gatsby is an undisputed classic of American literature from the period following the first World War and is one of the great novels of the twentieth century.

The Roaring Twenties: Virtual Role Play

Flappers in the 1920's

The Great Gatsby Treasure Hunt

1920's Music: Informational Article

Chapter Summaries

Setting Map Project

Journal Writing Prompts:
1. “Write about the American Dream? What is it and what does it mean to you? What are your dreams for the future?” He then showed the students a video clip from a show “Rich Girls” featuring the teenage daughters of nouveau riche families such as the Hilfiger's and the Hiltons, leading to another journal writing prompt, “If money was not an issue…What effect would wealth have upon the dreams that you wrote about earlier?”
2. After the students began reading, he gave them another prompt, “How do you feel about the characters that you have met in the Great Gatsby so far? Do any of the characters remind you of anybody that you know? How have the female characters been portrayed so far? ”
3. “Literature often reflects the time period in which it is created. What have you learnt or did you already know about the period in which The Great Gatsby was written?”
4. “What are your impressions of Gatsby? Do you believe the account of his past? Why/Why not? Given Daisy's story, what do you think will happen next in the novel?”
5. To help students think about the role of symbols: “Write about your school mascot. Why is your mascot a good symbol for the school? What are some other symbols of schools or businesses that you can think of? How do these work?”
6. “Have you ever wanted to repeat the past? How realistic do you think Gatsby's dream is?”
7. “What is great about the Great Gatsby? What are your opinions of Gatsby now that you have finished the novel? How great was he and why?”
8. “The Great Gatsby is a novel about … Avoiding a simple plot summary, discuss what you think the novel we have just read is really about. What is Fitzgerald trying to do in his book?”
9. “Write about the group work that you have done during the Gatsby unit. How well do you think your group worked together? What could your group have done better? What could you have done differently? All in all what are your feelings about working with a base group?”

Gatsby Review Game One
Gatsby Review Game Two
Gatsby Review Game Three
Gatsby Review Game Four
Gatsby Review Game Five