Once is a generation, a book is written that transcends reality and humanity .The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, combines a unique style, controversial theme, and thought provoking main character in this perceptive study of the human condition. This postwar novel protests against the loss of innocence and hypocrisy of the era and is the definitive coming of age novel. Salinger constructs a shocking reality, populated by phonies' and bursting with falsities- a reality that is all too real.
The Catcher in the Rye is the story of a young man's understanding of the world he lives in, and the things he encounters (Lomazoff 3). This work is similar to other famous and influential works of the same nature. For example, Maxwell Geismar sums up the novel as " an eminently readable and quotable [novel] in its tragicomic narrative of preadolescent revolt. Compact, taut, and colorful, the first half presents in brief compass all then petty horrors, the banalities, the final mediocrity of the American prep school" (Geismar 195). Holden can not understand the purgatory of Pency prep, and futilely escapes from one dark world into darker world of New York City. The second half of the novel raises the intriguing questions and incorporates the deeper meaning of the work (Geismar). Holden sits on the cusp of adulthood, tethering dangerously close to his fate and reality and The Catcher in the Rye is the story of his journey into the adult world. In addition, this novel is similar to other famous works of the same nature. Salinger emulates elements of Shakespeare's Hamlet and Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Like Huck Finn, The Catcher in the Rye is the story of a young man's journey into adulthood. Holden journeys into the human condition, Huck likewise seeks out human nature. Huck, like Holden, hates hypocrisy, and fells the need to search for integrity. Similarly, both works start out the same way. Their simple exposition of location and scope draws in the mind, and fastens it securely to the page. Holden's opening speech is merely a modernized and adapted version of Huck's. Holden Caulfield strikes many readers as an urbanized version of Huck Finn (Lomazoff 3). In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, things Price Hamlet cannot control dominate his thoughts and life. Like Holden, Hamlet suffers from a mild form of psychological disturbance. Both men cannot come to terms with morality and mortality. Holden is unsure of what happens after death, and confronts his own mortality, much like his Elizabethan counterpart, after an encounter with a vicious pimp:
But I'm crazy. I swear to God I am. About halfway to the bathroom, I sort of started pretending I had a bullet in my guts. Old Maurice had plugged me. Now I was on the to the bathroom to get a good shot of bourbon or something to steady my nerves and help me really go into action. I pictured myself coming out of the goddamn bathroom, dressed and all, with my automatic in my pocket, and staggering around a little bit. Then I'd walk down stairs, instead of using the elevator. I'd hold on to the banister and all, with this blood trickling out of the side of my mouth a little at a time. What I'd do, I'd walk down a few floors- holding on to my guts, blood leaking all over the place- and then I'd ring the elevator bell. As soon as old Maurice opened the doors, he'd see me with this automatic in my hand and he'd start screaming at me, In this very high-pitched, yellow-belly voice, to leave him alone. But I'd plug him anyway. Six shoots right throw his fat hairy belly. Then I'd throw my automatic down the elevator shaft- after I'd wipe off all the fingerprints and all. Then I'd crawl back to my room and call up Jane and have her come over and bandage up my guts.
These books by dissimilar authors and form different centuries are very different, but their insights into the quirks are humanity and coming of...