World Builders: Making The Intangible Concrete

I developed this project as a companion to JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and it is adaptable to all goals that seek a larger, communicative pursuit. 

Catcher in the Rye World Builders

        You are about to embark on your Catcher in the Rye World Builders project. You will design and create an entire world that shows a complete, personal understanding of the novel.

There are six sections to this project. Details of each section are below.

Each section will have a different due date to stagger the amount of work you have to do at once. We will have designated class time; anything you don’t finish in class is to be completed as homework.

If you are not prepared for designated class time, or decide to use it inefficiently, it will impact your final grade. At that time, you must also find and clear with me another way to be productive.

A model will be provided for you.

Design and landmark placement must be deliberate. (So what does that mean?)

This must be completed on an 11×17 piece of paper, which will be provided for you. All written explanations must be in one document titled “LastName WorldBuilders.”. Each section must have its own page and title.

This sheet must be turned in with your project.

Treat this sheet as two things: an outline for our project, and a checklist. 

This sheet is not only an outline for your project, but a checklist.

You must meet with Mr. Jackson to review your work and get it checked off by him in order to move forward.

Section 1: Characters

  • You must include three characters, plus Holden and yourself, for this section. That’s 5 characters total.   
  • Each of your 5 characters must have a symbol that represents them and their impact on the novel.
    • For yourself, you know you’re not in the novel. But think what role you’d play if you were.
  • Your 5 symbols will need a collective written explanation, encompassing what they ultimately say about the people they represent, the novel, and the novel’s purpose. This should be page 1 of your World Builders doc and titled “Characters.”.

Section 2: Landmarks

People’s Choice
    • You must include 5 landmarks, plus a World Society Building and Final Destination for Holden. That’s 7 landmarks total.
    • Like your characters, each landmark must have a symbol that represents them and their impact on the novel.
    • The World Society Building should represent the epitome of what Holden thinks is phony. This is not simply a building; it, too, is a symbol that represents a major impact on the novel.
  • Each symbol must have an accompanying paragraph explaining it. This should be page 2 of your World Builders doc and titled “Landmarks.”


Section 3: The Comfort Zone

  • You must indicate where Holden’s Comfort, Learning, and Panic Zones are on your map. That also means determining what they look like.
  • You must also provide a written explanation as to why they are placed where they are and look as they do. This should be page 3 of your World Builders doc and titled “Holden’s Comfort Zone.”


Section 4: Routes

  • You must establish a route that Holden has had to take in the world you’ve built on your map, and why he had to take that route.
  • You must also establish an alternate route that Holden wanted to take, but couldn’t, and why.
  • Your routes should consider what Holden would see, think, feel, and realize. Explanations should be page 4 of your World Builders doc and titled “Holden’s Routes.”

Section 5: Theme Song

  • You must find or write a song for your CITR world.
  • Your theme song must be physically integrated into your board.
  • Your theme song must make connections to the novel.
  • Your theme song must have a written explanation for why you chose or wrote it. This should be page 5 of your World Builders doc and titled “Holden’s Theme Song.”

Section 6: Key

  • You must attach a key to your map to indicate who or what each symbol represents.



This project is worth a total of 300 points. Points will be split evenly for one reading and one writing grade each.

The final due date for this project is to be determined. When determined, you will be notified. At that point, put it below on this paper.