Catcher in the Rye vs. Don Quixote

Topics: Don Quixote, Novel, Miguel de Cervantes Pages: 3 (1041 words) Published: October 8, 1999
J.D. Salinger's TheCatcher in the Rye can be compared to Cervantes' Don Quixote. Both novels feature naive protagonists pining for an ideal world. In Salinger's novel, Holden Caulfield is a sixteen year old who experiences challenging and questionable events in the mid-stage of his adolescence. Holden wants to protect the innocent children like "the catcher in the rye" from the immorality and corruptness of the "phony" adult world. In Cervantes work, Don Quixote is the idealistic protagonist who sets out to transform the world in accordance to his medieval vision. His growing obsession with stories of knighthood and books of chivalry leads him to abandon his former life and become a wandering knight set out to right the world's wrongs.

The title of the book Thr Catcher in the Rye is reflected in the mistaken words of a poem by Robert Burns. Holden thought the words were "if a body catch a body coming through the rye." That is what he wanted to be. He feels that he has the responsibility of saving the children from falling off the cliff and losing their innocence. Holden wants to protect the vulnerable from being corrupted by the adult world, an immoral and unscrupulous society tainted by phonies. Unless stopped the children will fall off the cliff and plunge into the evils of adulthood.

Although Holden wished to help children retain their innocence perpetually, he realized he couldn't. There was too much evil in the world, and it would be infeasible to shelter a child from it. This is evident when he goes to Phoebe's school to leave a note requesting a final meeting with Phoebe. As Holden was walking up the stairs he sees " fuck-you " written on the wall and rubs it off with his hand. Then, later as he is going down a different staircase he sees the same phrase on the wall, but this time scratched in with a knife so he can't efface it. At that moment, he thought that there would be millions of signs just like that one in the world. There was...
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