Alienation and It's Relevance to Catcher in the Rye and the Grapes of Wrath

Topics: The Grapes of Wrath, Holden Caulfield, Fraud Pages: 2 (614 words) Published: March 29, 2005
The theme of alienation is relevant in both "The Catcher in the Rye" and "The Grapes of Wrath. It is an idea presented very prominently in both books, expressed through characters, actions, and events. The Catcher in the Rye focuses on Holden Caulfield, a socially inadequate, sixteen year old boy who distances himself from others as a display of mental superiority driven by the idea he possesses that everyone is a phony, while he appears to be the only one who has remained genuine and authentic in today's society. Like The Catcher in the Rye, a significant subject of The Grapes of Wrath is isolation from modern culture. The Joad family, upon their arrival in California, are estranged and avoided because they are labeled as "Oakies" on account of their origination from Oklahoma. They are regarded as dirty, unwanted people, on a quest to take advantage of prospering California. They are treated as though inferior mainly because of their socioeconomic status, which is considerably lower than the farmers of California. Though Holden Caulfield's alienation from others is intentional, while the Joad family is inadvertently segregated, the motif of isolation is still pertinent in both novels. Holden's dissociation from his few friends and anyone else he encounters is based on his belief that everyone is a phony and he is above them on some level because he is capable of observing this phoniness and avoiding it, and the Joad family is discriminated against because of their being from Oklahoma. The motives of the Joad family and Holden, however, are completely opposite. The Joad's strive for acceptance in California from anyone who thinks poorly of them, when Holden ‘s intentions are to be cynical and to disregard the phonies with his eccentric personality. Another significant difference in both The Grapes of Wrath and The Catcher in the Rye with regard to isolation are the forms of isolation, which are presented. Holden is mentally isolated, avoiding social...
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