questions about counterarguments and catcher in the rye

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select only one of the three statements listed under Part 1 (scroll down to see it), and use any of the approaches presented in this Refutation-Rebuttals Resources page to refute or rebut to that statement. These formulas are simply a few different ways to refute/rebut to an argument. You choose which one works for you; just make sure that your response is limited to only one concise paragraph and follows that respective formula. Make sure to indicate which one you have chosen.

Next, please select a passage from Part 2 (scroll down to view it), and provide the same one-paragraph refutation/rebuttal formula in your response to any of the following statements made by literary critics or scholars regardingThe Catcher in the Rye.

Part 1: Choose one of the following statements and refute/rebut it. Try to provide a counter-argument. You must use any one of the formulas provided in the Refutation-Rebuttals folder, which is included in the Week 4 module (or use link above).

A. High school should not be mandatory.

B. Citizens of the United States should be banned from possessing assault weapons because civilians do not need such extreme weapons.

C. E-cigarettes are not harmful like regular cigarettes and should not be banned from use on school campuses, hospitals, and workplaces.

  • Part 2: Choose one of the following excerpts from literary criticisms, find some vulnerability, assumption, or bias notion inherent in it, and rebut it. Please provide a counter-argument, if you can. You must use any one of the formulas provided in the Refutation-Rebuttals folder, which is included in the Week 4 module (or use link above). Do the best that you can on this assignment. A. The Catcher in the Rye chronicles the rapid depletion of a wealthy young man’s emotional resources. The novel, though remarkably spare, induces a sort of vicarious exhaustion in the reader to parallel the waning stamina of its protagonist. Indeed, by the time Holden Caulfield’s mentor Mr. Antolini gives him the novel’s only hint at genuine solace for a person like Caulfield–a speech that suggests that Holden might read and take comfort in a literary community of like-minded people–the boy is too exhausted to listen. The reader might easily remain unconsoled as well; after all, the speech appears in the twenty-fourth chapter of a novel with only twenty-six chapters in it, a mere twenty-five pages before the last note is sounded. Most significantly, the man who tries to soothe his former student also tries to molest him (Tolchin par. 1).
    B. On the surface, then, The Catcher in the Rye is a rather mundane novel–it is not immediately clear why it has gained the lasting affection and engendered the vehement hostility of so many participants in lengthy and heated public controversies across America. Beyond the opening arguments over whether the novel is “American” or “un-American,” the debate overCatcher’s value and appropriate readership is a Geertzian “note in a bottle.” Laden with value judgments and assumptions, the debate is essentially a discourse on the constitution and possibility of moral values and ethical conduct in mid-twentieth-century America. That this discourse is at least in part an expression of the impact of America’s development and first use of the atomic bomb upon the American cultural imagination is the thesis (Steinle par. 5).C. As I surveyed the secondary discourse and interviewed controversy participants, seeking to understand their positions and involvement in the Catcher in the Rye controversies, those who opposed Catcher were not so much “out of touch” as they were focused upon consciously protecting their sense of American values, perceived to be under question and challenge. In a 1971 controversy in Hinsdale, Illinois, The Catcher in the Rye (along with Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Hemingway’sFarewell to Arms, and John Updike’s Rabbit Run) was criticized as “pessimistic, morbid, and depressing,” with the local PTA literature subcommittee asking instead for more books with “positive, optimistic, uplifting standpoints.”92 Parent Ginney Desrocher “objected to the negative point of view” in The Catcher in the Rye, and concluded her argument in a 1982 Vermont controversy with the statement: “We look at the positive side, that’s what builds character.”93 Marin County parent Kristen Keefe had argued the same point at greater length in her 1960 letter of complaint to the Marin County District Board of Trustees:

    The mind of a child is an unchalked slate. If we who push the chalk do not by examples write beauty and portray the satisfactions of having principle and character upon that slate, we are guiltier than had we left the writing to happenstance. If we do not point the way to the best, the worst will follow as night follows day, whether through intent by evil-doers, or by creation of a vacuum. This is to say, that I am equally concerned about the shortage of fine books upon our school library and classroom shelves as I am about the examples in use and here protected. Young people do not yet know all of what they believe. In fact, the modern world and our school constantly forces them to question the beliefs of their parents. They accept the authority of the school and this trust should not be lightly viewed by any trustee (Qtd. in Steinle par. 95-96).

    Works CitedSteinle, Pamela. “‘If a Body Catch a Body’: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Debate as Expression of Nuclear Culture.” Popular Culture and Political Changein Modern America. Ed. Ronald Edsforth and Larry Bennett. State University of New York Press, 1991. 127-136. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism.Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 138. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.Tolchin, Karen R. “Optimism, Innocence, and Angst in The Catcher in the Rye.” Part Blood, Part Ketchup: Coming of Age in American Literature and Film.Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, Inc., 2007. 33-45. Rpt. in Children’s Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 181. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

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