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'The Wasp Factory' and 'The Catcher in the Rye' Watch

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    Hey, for my A2 Lit coursework (WJEC), I have to choose a partner text for The Wasp Factory. I've pretty much decided that I want to do The Catcher in the Rye but I'm struggling to come up with a question. I was thinking:

    'To what extent can 'The Wasp Factory' and 'The Catcher in the Rye' be seen as attacks against the societies the writers live in?'

    'Examine how Banks and Salinger display their disturbed protagonists'


    I'm more keen on the first one really, I think the second one is too broad. With the first one I think there's genuine debate whether the novels are social critiques or portrayals of the human condition, so I can give point by point comparisons of the novels (which is 50% of the marks).

    I was wondering what you think of the question? It's important I get the question right, I won't be able to change it if I get stuck. Is it a question that allows me to write a good and 'proper' 2000 word essay?
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    I haven't read The Wasp Factory, but studied The Catcher in the Rye as part of the extensive American literature module for OCR. Obviously, you're dealing with a comparison between a British and an American text here, which might well prove tricky in 2000 words at A2 - is this an expectation of the syllabus or your own choice? Particularly if you are going to be discussing and contrasting societies, 1000 words per text is very little, and while I can't supply you with an idea for another suitable British text, finding one would make life a lot easier for you. In an ideal world, you would be allowed to compare two American texts for WJEC: there is an incredible choice there and you can quickly get a good essay started comparing the disillusionment of very different characters under that society.

    The general themes of the questions are fine, but you're digging yourself a slight hole with how they are currently phrased. 'Attacks' is rather a strong word for the first question and you would be better going with something like 'criticism', which is more in line with the implicit elements of the texts. With regard to the second one, 'portray' would be better than 'display', and be very careful of dismissing the characters as disturbed at the first instance - could it not be elements of social expectations that fit that description instead? The Catcher in the Rye, like The Great Gatsby, is an immensely popular text for study; as such, it can be quite difficult to write a convincing piece on it that includes some originality. Assuming a very common (and perhaps mislead) conclusion in the question doesn't allow for this - although you could always turn it around and challenge the frequent view that Holden Caulfield isn't all there.

    Either will involve you talking a lot about society, and don't be afraid of choosing a reasonably broad question if you feel you can be selective with your writing and address a fair 'section' of the text. Good luck.
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    (Original post by Wildebeest)
    I haven't read The Wasp Factory, but studied The Catcher in the Rye as part of the extensive American literature module for OCR. Obviously, you're dealing with a comparison between a British and an American text here, which might well prove tricky in 2000 words at A2 - is this an expectation of the syllabus or your own choice? Particularly if you are going to be discussing and contrasting societies, 1000 words per text is very little, and while I can't supply you with an idea for another suitable British text, finding one would make life a lot easier for you. In an ideal world, you would be allowed to compare two American texts for WJEC: there is an incredible choice there and you can quickly get a good essay started comparing the disillusionment of very different characters under that society.

    The general themes of the questions are fine, but you're digging yourself a slight hole with how they are currently phrased. 'Attacks' is rather a strong word for the first question and you would be better going with something like 'criticism', which is more in line with the implicit elements of the texts. With regard to the second one, 'portray' would be better than 'display', and be very careful of dismissing the characters as disturbed at the first instance - could it not be elements of social expectations that fit that description instead? The Catcher in the Rye, like The Great Gatsby, is an immensely popular text for study; as such, it can be quite difficult to write a convincing piece on it that includes some originality. Assuming a very common (and perhaps mislead) conclusion in the question doesn't allow for this - although you could always turn it around and challenge the frequent view that Holden Caulfield isn't all there.

    Either will involve you talking a lot about society, and don't be afraid of choosing a reasonably broad question if you feel you can be selective with your writing and address a fair 'section' of the text. Good luck.
    Thank you for replying. I'm pretty set on The Catcher in the Rye, it's perhaps my favourite novel and I'd enjoy analysing it further. Personally, I don't think it's essential that I choose a British text. Both texts have really broad similarities, for instance, both of the central characters are somewhat alienated from the 'real world', there seems to be suggestions of the author's dislike to capitalism/privatisation and both seem to agree with Rousseau philosophy; man is ultimately born good but is then corrupted by society.

    I've sort of changed my question to:

    'To what extent can The Wasp Factory and The Cactcher in the Rye be seen as works of social critique?'

    Is 2000 words enough to answer this sort of question or do I need to change it slightly?

    I'd very much prefer to do Catcher as my partner text and a question on those sort of lines, though less bothered about the question than wanting to do Catcher.
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    (Original post by T kay)

    Is 2000 words enough to answer this sort of question or do I need to change it slightly?

    I'd very much prefer to do Catcher as my partner text and a question on those sort of lines, though less bothered about the question than wanting to do Catcher.
    Like the previous poster, I haven't studied nor read 'The Wasp Factory' but have extensively studied "Catcher in the Rye'.

    Salinger's writing may be simplistic, but his message is not; I think what he's predominantly trying to do is call for integrity and human interaction in a mechanized society. A voice for teenagers (link in with social and historical context). How widespread "phoniness" has become. How cinema encourages passiveness in society. If you want me to elaborate on any of these then just ask.

    But it's also important to note that Holden's criticisms are not necessarily a good thing, as it results in his loss of attachment from society and self-loathing.
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    (Original post by nothingspek)
    Like the previous poster, I haven't studied nor read 'The Wasp Factory' but have extensively studied "Catcher in the Rye'.

    Salinger's writing may be simplistic, but his message is not; I think what he's predominantly trying to do is call for integrity and human interaction in a mechanized society. A voice for teenagers (link in with social and historical context). How widespread "phoniness" has become. How cinema encourages passiveness in society. If you want me to elaborate on any of these then just ask.

    But it's also important to note that Holden's criticisms are not necessarily a good thing, as it results in his loss of attachment from society and self-loathing.
    Totally agree with it being simply written yet deeply thoughtful. I'd like to ask what made you feel that Salinger's calling for human interaction in a mechanised society? Is it because Holden only likes kids? Kids are the only ones that aren't 'phony', I think that Salinger uses kids and Holden's love for them as a way to say that people (as you say human interaction) are more important than money, profit, cinema etc that arose from post war capitalist America, I think Salinger's trying to remind us of what is really important. Is Salinger worried for future American generations? I think this is where Rousseau's philosophy comes in, children born good but later corrupted by society.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    Totally agree with it being simply written yet deeply thoughtful. I'd like to ask what made you feel that Salinger's calling for human interaction in a mechanised society? Is it because Holden only likes kids? Kids are the only ones that aren't 'phony', I think that Salinger uses kids and Holden's love for them as a way to say that people (as you say human interaction) are more important than money, profit, cinema etc that arose from post war capitalist America, I think Salinger's trying to remind us of what is really important. Is Salinger worried for future American generations? I think this is where Rousseau's philosophy comes in, children born good but later corrupted by society.
    The general feeling I get from the novel is that American society post war was very based on self-interests, Holden's disgruntled view of the modern world; a world where strength comes from weakness and pliability, and where the naturally weak overpower the strong. Holden has no real interaction with any other character bar Pheobe in the novel, this is where the literal meaning is, but I think it goes deeper than that. Perhaps if his parents had taken the time to talk Holden through his problems and bring him up right then he wouldn't have been so socially disfunctional. Cinema is artificial, which is the point Salinger was attempting to raise; he wanted real human interaction rather than an artificial world of characters with no real emotional involvement.

    And I think that's a good point; Holden wasn't born bad, and indeed I don't think he is bad at all, but he was made the way he is by society.
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    (Original post by nothingspek)
    The general feeling I get from the novel is that American society post war was very based on self-interests, Holden's disgruntled view of the modern world; a world where strength comes from weakness and pliability, and where the naturally weak overpower the strong. Holden has no real interaction with any other character bar Pheobe in the novel, this is where the literal meaning is, but I think it goes deeper than that. Perhaps if his parents had taken the time to talk Holden through his problems and bring him up right then he wouldn't have been so socially disfunctional. Cinema is artificial, which is the point Salinger was attempting to raise; he wanted real human interaction rather than an artificial world of characters with no real emotional involvement.

    And I think that's a good point; Holden wasn't born bad, and indeed I don't think he is bad at all, but he was made the way he is by society.
    I think that's why he only likes Phoebe and kids in general (I recall the girl he saw outside the musuem), he wants to be 'the catcher in the rye'. He can't interact with anyone because they've been corrupted or changed, as you said, they are 'artificial' but Holden's like that too, he seems to have watched every film there is, and he pretends that he's been shot, a scene which he saw in a film.
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    i haven't studied it, but i've read the wasp factory, and i can't see how you wouldn't choose the protagonist one! it's just too good an opportunity!
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    (Original post by waynooo)
    i haven't studied it, but i've read the wasp factory, and i can't see how you wouldn't choose the protagonist one! it's just too good an opportunity!
    I still might! I haven't quite decided yet on my final question.

    I'll ask my teachers what they think.
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    I compared Catcher in the Rye to Vernon God Little; it was such a great essay to write, the two protagonists are pratically the same.
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    (Original post by Alsop)
    I compared Catcher in the Rye to Vernon God Little; it was such a great essay to write, the two protagonists are pratically the same.
    What was your question?
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    (Original post by T kay)
    What was your question?
    Something like; How do the novels "Catcher in the Rye" and "Vernon God Little" explore the problems associated with adolescence and the narrators messages regarding society.

    It's obvious that VGL took a lot of influence from TCITR.
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    (Original post by Alsop)
    Something like; How do the novels "Catcher in the Rye" and "Vernon God Little" explore the problems associated with adolescence and the narrators messages regarding society.

    It's obvious that VGL took a lot of influence from TCITR.
    If you looked above my question's something similar.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    If you looked above my question's something similar.
    I know, I just haven't read the wasp factory, so just putting in a little suggestion for another comparison
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    (Original post by Alsop)
    I know, I just haven't read the wasp factory, so just putting in a little suggestion for another comparison
    The Wasp Factory is the text that I have to do. I know I want to compare it to The Catcher in the Rye, just can't seem to get my question together.
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    (Original post by T kay)
    The Wasp Factory is the text that I have to do. I know I want to compare it to The Catcher in the Rye, just can't seem to get my question together.
    oh ok, sorry. Is the protagonist in TWF similar to Holden Caulfield? If so, then you could do my question just replace TWF with Vernon God Little. But then again, your question is pratically the same and I think it's a good question with a lot of scope.
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    (Original post by Alsop)
    oh ok, sorry. Is the protagonist in TWF similar to Holden Caulfield? If so, then you could do my question just replace TWF with Vernon God Little. But then again, your question is pratically the same and I think it's a good question with a lot of scope.
    Similar in a few ways I guess, both are alienated from society, both cynical, arguably mentally ill, but in TWF, the main character is evil! He's a murderer and it's more to do with gender than in CITR. Both books share similarites regarding social comment. So, I think I can give a good comparison of the two.

    I think my question is ok, I'm going to see what my teacher says next week.
    Thanks for your help, much appreciated.
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    It's really good question for A2 actually- i might use it actually?!
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    u should really
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    (Original post by jamib0y)
    It's really good question for A2 actually- i might use it actually?!
    Yes good idea, we can help each other that way :yep:

    It's been changed a little bit though, can't exactly remember what to but it's along the same lines, will post it later on.
 
 
 
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