The Strongest Man Upon the Earth Is He Who Stands Most Alone Critical Lens Essay

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According to Henrik Ibsen, “The strongest man upon the earth is he who stands most alone.” In other words, what this quote means is that the strongest man is the most independent; individuals who do not need to rely on others to survive. Individuals who stand alone are the ones who realize the strength within themselves and become powerful characters. This quote is valid because individuals who like to take actions on their own and at their own pace become the most successful. Two works of literature that support the validity of this statement are The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger and The Color of Water, by James McBride.

The Color of Water, is a memoir, set in a variety of settings; from Suffolk, Virginia, to Wilmington, Delaware. It recounts the past lives of protagonists James and Ruth, and recalls the 1920s all throughout the 1990s. One of the protagonists, Ruth McBride, is characterized as an admirable and extraordinary woman and shows signs of independence throughout her lifetime. She managed to overcome the painful memories of her adolescent years; ranging from her father’s indecent behavior and mistreatment, to having an abortion at such a young age. She followed her heart and left behind her family and friends in search of a new life; away from the life that was so cruel to her. She showed signs of independence even “when the going got tough.” For example, after her first husband had passed away, she did not crumble under the pressure that she was facing. Instead, she married again and raised her children to be successful and educated, even during such harsh conditions. Also, Ruth was not afraid of public opinion when she had married an African- American man. This marriage caused her family to condemn her and shows that those who do not rely on others become stronger and more powerful individuals.

The Catcher in the Rye, is set in New York City during the 1940s. The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is characterized as an individual who has...
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