Henry David Thoreau spent his life’s work urging the individual to embrace their moral values, display independence, and avoid social conformity. A similar idea is expressed in J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. Similarly, both pieces were written as a form of nonviolent social protest. Playwrights Robert Edwin Lee and Jerome Lawrence used the play as a vehicle to address the civil unrest in relation to the Vietnam War. Similarly, J.D. Salinger expresses his personal plight to reclaim his youth to avoid the pitfalls of adulthood through his character of Holden Caulfield. Students are asked to write a paper using both texts to respond to the following quesiton: What is more important to the successful functioning of a democracy, conforming to societal norms or expressing one’s individualism? (EQ). Paper requirements and rubric is included. I use this paper in my 9th grade Humanities course.