Catcher And The Rye 2 Essay, Research Paper
Catcher and the Rye versus Old Man and the Sea
Both novels share the theme of a voyage which leads to complicated psychological hostility bringing about emotional upheaval and enlightenment.
In The Catcher and the Rye, there are many moments when Holden Caulfield withstands serious psychological conflicts. Throughout the novel, Holden is trying to find himself. He neglects his duties as a student to prolong his journey to adulthood. During this search for identity, interesting obstacles approach Holden which in turn lead to his enlightenment. Holden often becomes extremely depressed for several different reasons. In fact, it is only because of his depression that, at one point, he chooses to have a throw with some prostitute. This is shown when Holden says, It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn t even think. This spontaneous decision later creates great predicaments for Holden to have to face. There are other times when he says things without thinking. For example, when Holden goes on a date with Sally Hayes he tells here he loves her. Then he says, It was a lie, of course, but the thing is, I meant it when I said it. Holden also has a fantasy about running away with Sally, but Sally opts not to go with him. Afterward, Holden realizes he really does not want to run away with Sally. He just asked her because the idea sounded good at that moment.
Sometimes Holden would be so emotionally distraught that he would become delusional. He would make believe that he was talking to his deceased, younger brother Allie. He would say to him, Allie don t let me disappear. . . .Please, Allie. This proves that Holden has critical issues which need to be resolved.
Along with Allie, Holden has an older brother named DB, and a younger sister named Phoebe. Holden is not too close to DB. On the other hand, he is extremely close to Phoebe. Near the end of the novel, Holden decides to hitch hike out west. However, before he leaves, he wants to return Phoebe s Christmas dough that he borrowed from her. Phoebe is furious because she wants to go with Holden, but he refuses to take her along. In hopes to console Phoebe, Holden lets her skip the rest of that day of school. This attempt does not seem to rectify the situation.
Subsequently, when Holden takes Phoebe to the carrousel, he realizes that someone actually cares for him. It is obvious when he says, I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, . . . .in her blue coat and all, that he was truly uplifted by the sight of her circling around on the carrousel. It did not matter to Holden if he got soaking wet because that was not the important thing. Also, he was wearing his and Phoebe s special red hat. He told Phoebe that he would return home and for once he really meant it. Suddenly, everything became clear to him and for the first time, in what seemed like forever, he was content.
Likewise, The Old Man and the Sea contains just as much struggling as The Catcher and the Rye does. The old man, Santiago, suffers tremendous hardships during his expedition at sea. His agonizing battle begins early on when a giant marlin starts eating sardines on the old man s hook. After a while, something causes the fish some discomfort which then makes a sudden, sharp movement. The old man then realizes his right hand is cut by the line. You re feeling it now, fish, he says. And so, God knows, am I. The old man was able to deal with the pain now, but shortly there would be more for him to endure. His left hand becomes cramped which gives him greater pain than he had before. Even though the old man was not hungry, he decides to catch something to eat for nourishment. He says, How are you hand? . . . . I ll eat some more for you. Fortunately, the tuna helps the old man to regain some strength to finish the battle with the great marlin.
The huge fish is strong as well as stubborn and strives to survive. Like the fish, the old man is just as stubborn and eventually is able to harpoon the fish until its long and unawaited death. The old man s dream of catching the fish finally comes true. He is my fortune, he thought. This was the old mans moment of enlightenment. The old man wanted to kill the fish so badly that he did not care if he died during the process. Oddly enough, after Santiago got his wish he felt as though he lost a brother. For the remainder of the trip, the old man only regretted killing such a great creature. Even after the old man s enlightenment there is more undesired adventure for him to later overcome.
My immediate reaction to The Catcher and the Rye was the realness of Holden Caulfield. He was just like a typical teenager whom you might see at High School North. Also, the people he referred to as phonies are the kind of people I encounter almost everyday. I loved how J.D. Salinger wrote in a style which made the theme easy to comprehend. The Old Man and the Sea reminded me of the movie, The Perfect Storm. Both were stories about dedicated fishermen who were willing to die doing what they loved. Furthermore, they both achieved similar goals of catching their dream fish. Nevertheless, neither could be acknowledged for their brave feat because one unfortunate reason or another. Overall, there is a great deal of emotional upheaval and psychological trauma which occurs to the main characters of both novels.