Holden And Huck Essay, Research Paper
Holden and Huck
Ever since man first set foot upon the wry terrain of this planet, he has constantly sought to compare the characters of two individuals. For example, the comparison between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln is one that is often raised. Although most of these comparisons have dealt with non-fictional individuals, a plethora has been made using fictional characters. One such popular comparison is that of Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield. Both of these characters are seen by many to be somewhat of an anomaly in today s sophisticated day and age. Their rebellious actions have provided the proof for most to base this assumption, and therefore it could be concluded that both characters are very similar to one another. Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield are alike by virtue of the facts that they are both brave, na ve and have poor problem solving skills. Although there are many similarities existing between the two, perhaps the most striking similarity between them is their ineffable naivet .
The first reason why Huck and Holden are alike is because they are both extremely brave. The verity of this statement is proven throughout both novels by the actions of the main characters. One example in The Catcher in the Rye is when Holden Caulfield decides to stand up against the oppression of Ward Stradlater. When Stradlater returns from his date with Jane Gallagher, friction between the two boys rises and a fight soon follows. This is a particularly brave action on the part of Holden because he is both smaller and weaker then the older Ward Stradlater. Most individuals who were set in a similar situation would never even ponder the thought of throwing the first punch in a battle they were inevitably going to lose. However, Holden does not stop for a second to consider the consequences of his actions, rather, consumed by anger and bravery, Holden begins to attack. Although the clash is brief with Stradlater becoming the victor, Holden does prove that he is unwilling to back down from any individual. Much like Holden, Huckleberry Finn from the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often quite chivalrous. One example of Huck s courage occurs when the Duke and Dauphin decide to double cross three sweet girls. Huck is well aware of the danger that is entailed in trying to stop the nefarious pair; however, his fear does not influence him enough to keep him from doing what he feels is right. Huck, without hesitation, immediately steals the girls money back from the two men and ends up saving the day for the girls who he adores. Both these incidences make manifest the fact that Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield are a chivalrous pair of young men. However, their chivalry in no way overshadows their naivete.
A second similarity between Holden and Huck is their obvious naivete. Incidences that display this lack of knowledge are many and easily found within both novels. One example of Holden s naivete occurs when he is explaining what he would like to do when he gets older to Phoebe. During this conversation, Holden mentions that he would like to be a catcher in the rye. This occupation which Holden invents is based upon a faulty reading of Burns. Holden goes even farther to prove his naivete by seeking the aid of Mr. Antolini in order to achieve his dream. Mr. Antolini, who is merely an English teacher, can obviously not help the discombobulated Holden Caulfield. Similarly, Huck often displays his naivete throughout the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One example of this occurs when Tom and Huck attempt to free Jim from his captors. During this rescue mission, Tom is constantly formulating new and more ridiculous plans to get the rather simple job done. Huck, with trace amounts of hesitation, is easily persuaded into following the plan that Tom has set forth, despite the fact that it is obviously over extravagant. Huck believes throughout the entire novel that Tom is much smarter then him and therefore he does whatever he says. These examples of the two boys naivete clearly outlines their similarities. However, their poor problem solving skills serve in the same manner as well.
Holden Caulfield and Huckleberry Finn are also alike by reason of their poor problem solving skills. It seems that throughout both novels, whenever an obstacle needs to be circumvented, the two boys display poor methods of problem solving. Holden is clearly guilty of this flaw when he runs away from his friends and everyone at Pencey Prep. When Stradlater is through beating up Holden, Holden decides to run away from his problems in the Ossenburger Memorial Hall rather then deal with them in a more orthodox manner. If Holden were to have exhibited better problem solving skills, then perhaps his adventure and all the heart break that it entailed would have never of happened. Huck also displays his poor problem solving skills throughout his own novel. A prominent example of this is when Huck decides to runaway from his rarely sober father with the intent of never returning. Rather then thinking his situation through and coming to the realization that his kidnapper is his father, Huck simply decides to run like a chicken with its head cut off. Perhaps Huck should have sought help for his drunken father rather then abandoning him. Like Holden, if Huck were to have exhibited better problem solving skills, he may have found himself at a more desirable outcome. Both Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield are easily seen as similar individuals by virtue of their poor problem solving skills.
Holden and Huck are alike because they are both courageous, na ve and they both share poor problem solving skills. These three similarities make manifest the fact that all who have shared a similar view were correct in their believing so and that the long and heated debate on this subject should cease to exist. Perhaps there are several reasons why individuals would fail to come to this realization, but none exist that can refute the truth that these two characters of contemporary American literature are strikingly alike. One can only hope that one day, critics and avid book readers alike can come to a catholic decision upon this highly debatable comparison. Unfortunately, it seems that this debate will last well into the future without any signs of reconciliation. However, the best arguments given to date on the subject have dealt with the characters being similar. Therefore, it can be observed that in this, the dawn of the second millenium, one is best off concluding that Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield are two literary characters who are very much alike.