J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Project by Monica and Anu
10th grade English students from George Mayo’s class at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring (Maryland)
[Holden Caulfield’s] interactions with others are conveyed on one side of the structure. While, on the other side, the inspiration is the insight and knowledge the reader gains throughout the book. The two sides of the structure show both what he says and how the reader knows he actually feels. Holden is an unreliable narrator; he contradicts his own words with the actions he reports.
[The larger side of the structure] should be closed because this is how most people are able to interact with him and how he reacts to them, in a closed fashion. Anu, my partner, and I conveyed this … by putting in large walls that are intended to make the person feel small and held at a distance, while creating a flow that leads them on. There is a small chamber between the two main rooms of the structure. In a way, it is the separator of falsities Holden makes to keep people out and the truth he tries to hide.
[This project] gives us, the students, a way to show understanding in a creative, artistic way. The project is not what you expect from an English class, especially not in high school… it makes us think in a more in-depth way about the story. Not only do we have to find examples to support our analysis, but we then have to figure out how to convey that concept in a physical structure without being literal.