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Comparison and Contrast of a Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye

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Comparison and Contrast of a Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye

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  • April 2005
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Comparison and Contrast Essay
A Separate Peace and The Catcher in the Rye
The coming of age novels, The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, and A Separate Peace, written by John Knowles, both interpret the lives of adolescent boys journeying through their conflicts and inner confusion to reach the level of maturity. Salinger and Knowles both discern the literal ways a typical teenager grows up with the help of literary elements such as plot, setting, character development, conflicts, irony, symobolism, theme, and point of view.

In both of the novels, the setting is taken place in an all boys' school. The all boys' school in A Separate Peace was named Devon High School, located in New Hampshire and the school in The Catcher in the Rye was named Pencey Prep, located in New York. By having both main characters being raised in a same type setting, they both can experience similarities that they might have to go through. However, each novel was set in a different timeline. A Separate Peace was actually written during the time of World War II, while The Catcher in the Rye was written after World War II. As a result, different time periods probably differentiated their lifestyles, which can produce unlike conflicts that the teenage boys might encounter.

The protagonists in A Separate Peace, Gene Forrester, and The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Claufield, make them coming of age novels by the struggles that they come across as they grow up into becoming mature, adult like men. Gene Forrester attains his maturity by dealing through the confusion he has from cooperating with his best friend, Finny, and the guilt he inherits as he blames himself responsible for Finny's death. On the contrary, Holden Claufield, in The Catcher in the Rye, illustrates his attainment of maturity by growing with the depression he possesses and his alienation from the people in the novel. The battle of Gene with himself and Holden with himself creates the similar major...

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