Comparison Essay Between Catcher in the Rye and Death of a Salesman

Good Essays
Pressures In Human Society

A common idea presented in literature is the issue of the freedom of the individual in the constant pressures of society. In the play “Death of a Salesman” by,
Arthur Miller, Willy Loman is a good example of this, as well as a sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfield in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by, J.D Salinger. They are both men living in a controlling society, and feel it is too hard to keep up with all of the expectations. Holden is always looking at the world in a negative way, pointing out the negativity in everyone, and everything around him. Willy on the other hand is an old man with two children, who is constantly pressuring his son Biff Loman to become something worth living for. They are both men in a monetary based society who are both looking for some respect, and can not cope responsibly with how they earn that respect.

In the novel Death of a Salesman the character named Willy Loman is an insecure self diluted traveling salesman who wants to achieve one thing in life, what he calls the American dream. Willy has deluded himself all his life about being a big success in the business world. Willy has a loving loyal wife, Linda, and two sons, Biff and Happy. Biff is his oldest son who is thirty four years old, and the one who Willy puts the most pressure on to do well in life. Willy is constantly pressuring Biff to become something important, to go to university and get a well respected job, just so he will be accepted and “be somebody” in society. While Biff just wants to do what he loves, and could care less about being accepted in the materialistic world. . “I saw the things that I love in this world. The work, and the food, and the time to sit and smoke, and I looked at the pen and I thought, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be . . . when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    literature, characters often confront challenges and due to their misconceptions of reality these challenges become complicated by external factors, which ultimately lead to tragic results. Willy, from the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Holden, from the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Macbeth, from the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, live with false perceptions of life and struggle through life's challenges. Willy struggles with the challenges of his life by lying…

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    favourite books, being Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye", are a good read without the extra additives that authors currently use for grabbing readers' attention. Both are books we can read, and very much relate to. An average American today could easily understand Willy Loman's struggle with money, and a teenager would have no…

    • 584 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    there was little concern for the welfare of the minority and no apprehension that ones success could lead to the downfall of another. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D Salinger and ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller are both texts that were written throughout this time of social, cultural, spiritual and economic metamorphosis. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ through the portrayal of Holden Caulfield, explores an individual’s tumultuous tale throughout city living and teenage years of post WW2 America…

    • 1981 Words
    • 57 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    “The Catcher in the Rye and The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” In the article “The Five levels of Maslow 's hierarchy of needs” by Abraham Maslow explains the basic needs that a person wants to achieve during his or her lifetime. Cherry states that there are 5 basic needs a person wants to achieve, which are physiological, security, social, esteem, and self actualization being the highest of these needs. The needs go up as a pyramid and the higher you go the longer and harder…

    • 1164 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the book The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, the main character is the protagonist in the story. Holden’s personality is quite different from the many other characters in this story. He is depressed throughout the entire story and does not seem to care about his future or growing up considering he just got kicked out of his school, Pencey Prep. Holden’s close friend, Sally Hayes is very enthusiastic, mature for her age, but sensitive. Both characters have flaws of their own but that does not…

    • 198 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Comparison Essay The two books that I am comparing are The Catcher in the Rye, and Lord of the Flies. The two books are very interesting and are very opposite yet the same in many ways. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is an idealistic character who becomes more of a realist as the novel progresses, while in the Lord of the Flies, many characters assume different roles. But the main argument between the two novels is that Holden has a dream job of being the catcher in the rye. The catcher in the…

    • 998 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The death of a loved one can really take a toll on the people that knew them. Death can make people do things that they wouldn’t normally do. A lot of times, people that have loved ones that have died blame themselves for their loved one dying, and think that they could have done something to prevent it, even though they can’t. In the book, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden, has a brother named Allie, who passed away when he was ten. Holden and Allie were very close…

    • 769 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    that is death. Death follows no rules, death does not follow a schedule. Death can be unexpected and unfair but the fact is death does not live with us we live with death. Many children are usually not used to death and can not fully understand the concept behind it and if exposed to death many children do not handle it well, because of this adults do their best to shield children from death until they are ready or mature enough to handle it. Unfortunately in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye the main…

    • 657 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else...Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake” (Angelou). This emphasizes how the death of a loved one can cause grief and mistaken actions. This quote can be applied to the characters of Holden and Hamlet too. Holden loses his brother, Allie, to leukemia at a very young age, which greatly upsets Holden, making him believe that Allie lost his innocence. Holden grieves over the death of his brother, taking radical actions…

    • 927 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Catcher in the Rye Essay

    • 1049 Words
    • 3 Pages

    1001379 Harper AP Literature 6 November 2014 The Catcher in the Rye Typed Essay – Prompt #1 J.D. Salinger's coming of age novel, The Catcher in the Rye, follows mental institute patient Holden Caulfield as he narrates his experiences and struggles in a world full of what he likes to call, “phonies” (13). Throughout the novel, Holden oscillates between childhood and adulthood as he desires to be “the catcher in the rye”: he hopes to “catch all the children that “start to go over the cliff” and preserve…

    • 1049 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays