Classic/Contemporary Pairing: Catcher in the Rye and Perks of Being a Wallflower

This post will compile information on both titles first, and then discuss them as a pairing.
9780316769174Bibliographic info

Salinger, J. D. 1951. The catcher in the rye. NY: Penguin Books.

Plot Description

Quantitative Reading Level

Grade Level: 2.9

ATOS Book Level: 4.7

Interest Level: Upper Grades 9-12

Qualitative Summary

This book is either loved or reviled by teens for its vivid main character. Holden has a bitter, jaded view of the world and the book is his internal monologue. The use of colloquialisms and conversational tone can make the structure hard to follow at times.

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

MD CCSS

English 9-12

EXPECTATION 1.3

The student will explain and give evidence to support perceptions about print and non-print works.

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.1 The student will explain how language and textual devices create meaning.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.2 The student will interpret a work by using a critical approach (e.g., reader response, historical, cultural, biographical, structural) that is supported with textual references.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.3 The student will identify features of language that create tone and voice.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.4 The student will explain how devices such as staging, lighting, blocking, special effects, graphics, language, and other techniques unique to a non-print medium are used to create meaning and evoke response.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.5 The student will explain how common and universal experiences serve as the source of literary themes that cross time and cultures.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.6 The student will assess the literary merit of a text.

Curriculum Suggestions

Can be integrated into curriculum as a coming of age narrative, exploring the difficulties of growing up.


Perksofbeingwallflower1

Bibliographic info

Chbosky, S. 1999. The perks of being a wallflower. NY: MTV Books.

Plot Description

Quantitative Reading Level

Grade Level: 6.1

ATOS Book Level: 4.8

Interest Level: Upper Grades 9-12

Qualitative Reading Analysis

Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most popular books at the private high school where I work. It is written in a series of letters, and the chronology is not always clear. There is one main character whose private thoughts we are privy to. The text can be complex at times, dealing with abstract and poetic language.

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

EXPECTATION 1.3

The student will explain and give evidence to support perceptions about print and non-print works.

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.1 The student will explain how language and textual devices create meaning.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.2 The student will interpret a work by using a critical approach (e.g., reader response, historical, cultural, biographical, structural) that is supported with textual references.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.3 The student will identify features of language that create tone and voice.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.4 The student will explain how devices such as staging, lighting, blocking, special effects, graphics, language, and other techniques unique to a non-print medium are used to create meaning and evoke response.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.5 The student will explain how common and universal experiences serve as the source of literary themes that cross time and cultures.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.6 The student will assess the literary merit of a text.

Curriculum Suggestions

Can be discussed for the literary merit, compared to other coming of age narratives. The character of Charlie has been dissected as possibly being depicted as a person on the autism scale; his characterization can be looked at, as well as compared to other characters with unique perspectives on life.

 

Comparison

These two books are often compared, as both focus their narrative on the stream-of-consciousness musings and growing pains of an emotional teen male protagonist. Both protagonists feel alienated from society in different ways, and both struggle to accept themselves. There are differences in the narratives as well; Charlie is just starting high school while Holden is being kicked out, Charlie addresses the reader through letters to an anonymous friend, while Holden tells his story through internal monologue.

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