Select a credible article from the Gale database to summarize and analyze for its core issues. You will want to select one or two issues within the article that the character would feel strongly about, and pull key quotations from the article
Must be 7 paragraphs, must have Paragraph 1: Introduction to Prompt/Summary of novel:
Include the author and title and introduce the narrator/main character. Summarize the novel, including the ending. Include specific details only if you will be referring to them later in the paper as examples. Keep it in the neighborhood of 200 words!
Wrap up by explaining how thorough characterization that reveals underlying motivations and inclinations can help us “know” a fictional character well enough to judge how s/he would react to new events. The last sentence of this paragraph is your working thesis statement, and it should tell how the effective use of characterization allows the reader to understand how the main character would feel about an issue.
Paragraph 2: Introduction to/Summary of your article:
Begin with a topic sentence along the lines of:
Based on the evidence in the novel, the main character would have a strong reaction to the article “Title” by author.
Summarize and paraphrase the article. Your summary should also identify the KEY ISSUE or issues that the main character would feel strongly about.
Use the correct MLA format for in-text citation
Paragraphs 3-5: Develop your Claim: Discuss the probable response the main character would have to the article.
Explore how Holden would react to that article, and explain why,  using specific, relevant, and cited evidence (quotations) from the novel. You need to write three supporting arguments to back up your thesis
Paragraph 6: Counterclaim
You will explore a counterclaim/refutation. We will talk about this in class.
Paragraph 7. Conclusion:
Leave the reader with some insight. For example, explain how characterization gave you greater insight into the character and his/her probable reactions. How does character analysis and understanding of people’s motivations help us understand the people around us? Be sure your last sentence is memorable.
MLA Works Cited: This should include the citations for any articles used and a citation for the novel.


Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Introduction to Prompt/Summary of novel:

The novel chosen for this analysis is “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, featuring the iconic narrator and main character, Holden Caulfield. The story follows Holden’s journey through New York City after being expelled from prep school. The novel culminates with Holden in a mental institution, recounting his experiences. Through Salinger’s meticulous characterization, readers gain insight into Holden’s rebellious nature, deep-seated trauma, and aversion to societal norms. Understanding Holden’s complex personality allows us to anticipate his reactions to new events and challenges.

Introduction to/Summary of your article:

Based on the evidence in the novel, the main character, Holden Caulfield, would have a strong reaction to the article “The Impact of Phoniness on Society” by author X. The article delves into the pervasive nature of insincerity and artificiality in modern society, highlighting how phoniness erodes authenticity and human connection. The key issue that Holden would resonate with is the disillusionment caused by encountering phoniness in people and societal constructs.

Develop your Claim:

Holden Caulfield’s character is deeply rooted in his disdain for phoniness and hypocrisy. In response to the article, Holden would vehemently reject the prevalence of artificiality in society. As he reflects on his encounters with fake individuals like Mr. Ossenburger and Ackley, Holden’s frustration with insincerity becomes evident. In the novel, Holden expresses his disdain for superficiality, stating, “I can be quite sarcastic when I’m in the mood” (Salinger 35).

Furthermore, Holden’s protective nature towards innocence and authenticity aligns with his reaction to the societal impact of phoniness discussed in the article. His desire to preserve the purity of childhood innocence is evident in his interactions with his sister Phoebe and his admiration for the museum exhibits that remain unchanged. Holden’s fondness for the museum symbolizes his yearning for stability and authenticity in a world plagued by artificiality.

Moreover, Holden’s internal conflict with societal expectations and conformity reinforces his rejection of phoniness. The pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations exacerbates Holden’s sense of alienation and disillusionment. His resistance to conform is evident in his thoughts on adulthood and the adult world, as he laments, “Certain things they should stay the way they are” (Salinger 122). This resistance highlights Holden’s aversion to the artificial constructs of adulthood that perpetuate phoniness.


It could be argued that Holden’s fixation on phoniness is a manifestation of his own inability to navigate the complexities of human interactions. Critics may suggest that Holden’s acute sensitivity to phoniness serves as a defense mechanism to shield himself from emotional vulnerability and genuine connections. While this perspective offers a valid interpretation of Holden’s character, it overlooks the genuine emotional turmoil and disillusionment he experiences in a world he perceives as inauthentic.


Through a deep analysis of Holden Caulfield’s character in “The Catcher in the Rye,” readers gain a profound understanding of his motivations, beliefs, and reactions. By exploring Holden’s strong aversion to phoniness and artificiality, we can predict his passionate response to societal issues addressing insincerity. Character analysis not only enriches our reading experience but also provides valuable insights into human nature and behavior. Understanding the complexities of fictional characters like Holden Caulfield allows us to empathize with their struggles and challenges, fostering a deeper understanding of ourselves and those around us.

MLA Works Cited:
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Little, Brown and Company, 1951.


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