Week #2 (Researcher): Rebel Without A Cause

In chapters 7-12, Holden is going about New York, trying to stay away from home. He, upon taking a cab, mistakenly gives the driver his home address, before correcting him and asking him to take him to a hotel. Holden’s increasing rebelliousness is accurate to the time, as teens with jobs had good pay and no longer needed necessarily to depend on their parents. Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock and the rising rock-and-roll fad gave teens another ‘taboo’ subject to take in as their own. Their main objective was to have fun, and they did. They ‘jitterbug’ed away to the newest beats, and this is mirrored in the novel. After Holden finds his way into the ‘Lavender Room,’ a nightclub at the hotel at which he was staying. He finds a group of three girls, and after deeming one ‘cute,’ asks her to dance. He enjoys her dancing, and when a fast song comes on, they jitterbug away.

America’s First Teenagers: Youth in the Fifties


Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock, released in 1957, was a US #1 hit for 7 weeks.

– Rafael C.

Week #1 (Passage Person): Foreseen Consequences

Holden Caulfield, as stated previously, has flunked out of another school. He flunked 4 of his five classes, all except English. On pages 10-12, he is being reprimanded by his history teacher, Mr. Spencer. He asks Holden if he had opened the book at all that school year, to which Holden replies “Well, I sort of glanced through it a couple times,” (Salinger 11) so as not to hurt his feelings. Mr. Spencer then shows him one of his old essays about the ancient Egyptians, which is comprised of 5 sentences. Holden added a note at the bottom, which reads,

“Dear Mr. Spencer. That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can’t seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is all right with me if you flunk me as though as I am flunking everything else except English anyway. Respectfully yours, Holden Caulfield.”

Why is he so willing to not try to pass school, even though he knows his parents would be mad with him?

My group and I realized that it may have something to do with his mental stability as a result of his brother’s untimely death, and the reason his parents keep putting him back is due to their not being able to deal with it, and sort of just sending him off.

-Rafael C.