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The protagonist Holden Caulfield shows a lot of bravery during the course of the novel. I disagree with the quote, but I do agree that there are many references that are similar between J.F. Clarke's quote and J. D. Salinger's novel.

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Introduction

Corey Perlmutter September 26, 2005 Catcher in the Rye essay Mr. Pryal Period 8 Author J.F Clarke's quote, "The bravest of individuals is one who obeys his/her conscience" can be looked upon in many ways. It also relates to J. D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye. The protagonist Holden Caulfield shows a lot of bravery during the course of the novel. I disagree with the quote, but I do agree that there are many references that are similar between J.F. Clarke's quote and J. D. Salinger's novel. Conscience is described as the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong. ...read more.

Middle

In some parts of the book, Holden does look like he has some moral respect when he is very nice to a kid who really has no friends in Robert Ackley. When Holden goes to his old school to give his sister a note he sees that someone has written "F*** you" on the wall, he gets very upset about it and washes it off. Also towards the end of the book, Holden goes to visit his sister at their house and he gives her his red hunting hat, which symbolizes that he loves her because the hat was very special to him. Holden takes it steady with girls because he respects them, which I also feel shows something about his conscience. ...read more.

Conclusion

The things that Holden did disobeyed his moral conscience like drinking underage, smoking and trying to fool around with a hooker. Author J.F Clarke's quote, "The bravest of individuals is one who obeys his/her conscience" can be looked upon in many ways, it can also be agreed with or it can also be disagreed with. It also relates to J. D. Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye. In the following essay it was shown the ways that protagonist Holden Caulfield obeyed his conscience and ways that he disobeyed his conscience. There were also points of mine that showed whether or not I agreed or disagreed with the message being given out by the quote. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a good and partly technical essay that addresses some alternative interpretations, but lacks developed analysis and consideration of context. The student responds well to the question by straight away defining one of its key words - "conscience" - ...

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Response to the question

This is a good and partly technical essay that addresses some alternative interpretations, but lacks developed analysis and consideration of context. The student responds well to the question by straight away defining one of its key words - "conscience" - then relating it back to Holden, which shows that the student has enough knowledge to stay on task and answer the question set. The student does consider alternative interpretations of Holden's bravery, which is good as it shows they recognise there is more than one interpretation of any text. They could improve by making it absolutely clear that they are considering different interpretations: for example, they could start the third paragraph with "However". They could also improve by adding more quotes from literary critics: at present they only have one, and more would show that the student has read widely around the subject. For major novels such as The Catcher in the Rye, these can often be found by searching in Google Books.

Level of analysis

In some ways, the student shows a good grasp of technical vocabulary: for example, they use terms like "protagonist" (which means the main character of a text who is not the villain), which is good as it shows they have a good understanding of what makes a text, rather than a vague idea. However, there is not much technical vocabulary: in an essay on The Catcher in the Rye, it is almost always relevant to talk about how the entire novel is written in the first-person, which is a great chance to use technical vocabulary. This student could have pointed out that the reader could be more likely to see Holden as brave because he is using the first-person, as it develops a personal relationship. The conclusion of this essay lets it down because it simply states the obvious: saying that the quote in the question "can...be agreed with or it can also be disagreed with" should be avoided because you should have demonstrated that in the essay. Your conclusion is supposed to summarise your argument and reach an answer.

The student could improve by quoting the text more frequently: there is no quote from the novel except the expletive in the second paragraph. This is bad because it suggests that the student is simply making statements they can't back up. The student could also improve by adding some consideration of the context of the novel: for example, they could point out that Holden's bravery might be higher than expected because the novel is set in a time of economic boom when people had more money to spend and were therefore becoming more independent. Always be careful with context and check with your teacher what is required, as it is not always required in particular sections of the exam.

Quality of writing

The spelling, grammar and punctuation in this essay is very good. However, sometimes the student uses words that don't make sense, such as "rebelish" when they mean "rebellious", or "mix feelings" when they mean "mixed feelings". It is always best to proofread to make sure your work makes sense. Also, the essay contains a lot of informal language - such as "trying to fool around" - which is inappropriate for analysis in an A Level essay because it is dealing with a serious piece of prose. It would also be better for the student to avoid saying "I" - such as in "I am disagreeing" - because it makes the essay sound like a personal opinion rather than a presentation of a range of opinions. It is also important to remember that the novel is called "The Catcher in the Rye" and not "Catcher in the Rye" as this student calls it, which makes the essay sound informalised and rushed.


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Reviewed by lordharvey 02/07/2012

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