Compare and Contrast of Charlie and Holden

Topics: Self-destructive behaviour, The Catcher in the Rye, Attention seeking Pages: 5 (2014 words) Published: October 27, 2012
Holden and Charlie
In both the novels Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Chbosky’s the perks of being a wallflower, the main characters Holden Caulfield and Charlie are troubled teens. Although they were teenagers in different time periods they shared many similar teenage difficulties. Both novels portray a male protagonist growing up while struggling to find his identity, while loathing their lives. Thus both novels are of the coming of age genre. Both boys are socially awkward and are not able to integrate into society. In this case, Charlie is insulted by senior students of his high school, “God, that kid is such a fucking freak,” (Chbosky 145). Throughout the novel Holden and Charlie strive to become a part of society. While Charlie tries to integrate with society, it seems that Holden rejects it and wants to create a new society that suits him more. With the downs of life they find a way to cope with the failure of being accepted which leads to a self-destructive behavior. Such behavior tends to lead to the use of drugs, alcohol and violence. However similar they may seem, they also share many differences which are responsible for the differing results of their outstanding social statuses. While Holden avoids his problems, Charlie chooses to confront them and this is partially why Charlie becomes socially accepted. Despite their resembling problems, they also differ greatly in lifestyles. While Holden comes from a rich family and goes to a prestigious private school, Charlie is poor and goes to a local public school. Another contrast of these coming-of-age characters is that they have extremely different personalities. One could say that if both Holden and Charlie were part of one story they would be character foils of each other. Both characters face the same dilemma yet have completely different outcomes. Holden is perceived to be judgmental, cynical, depressed and a manic while Charlie is shown to the reader as an excited and enthusiastic child. Regardless of how similar Holden and Charlie are, their futures end in a contradicting manner. Both Holden and Charlie are regarded as social outcasts, not able to make many friends. Their failed attempt to connect with society leads them towards a path of uncertain self-destruction. Holden and Charlie’s self-destructive behaviors are quite similar, both characters turn to smoking as stress relief. Holden begins to smoke several packs a day, whereas Charlie turns to drinking and dangerous drugs, such as marijuana and acid. There are many small factors as to why Holden and Charlie become self-destructive. Mainly it is the loss of someone close giving, them a feeling of hopelessness. Holden was consistently unable to find friends, but for Charlie, he slowly adapts and progressively makes more and more friends. In the novels, both Holden and Charlie are not portrayed as the center of attraction in their families. In Holden’s case D.B, his older brother, shines the greatest in the family. D.B has graduated from school and has become a successful play-wright in Hollywood, whereas Holden has been kicked out of school and has no direction in his life. Similarly, Charlie’s brother is also successful, as he attends the Pennsylvania State University on a football scholarship. Both novels start with the characters not having a lot of friends. The reason for Holden not having friends is because he judges and hates everyone, but at the same time he wants to join them. Holden consistently makes a half-hearted attempt to reach out, and then becomes disappointed when that person isn’t there to talk to him, support him or to understand him. This is displayed when Holden yells at Sally Hayes for not agreeing with him on their date. ‘I said. “You give me a royal pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth.”’ (Salinger 133). In the previous passage, Holden had tried to ask Sally to leave with him, but she refuses and Holden turns sour. Holden dislikes all the boys at his school and...
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