How is the theme of rejection explored in The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, was published in 1951. It was written in post world war two in the modern day New York. In contrast, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885 however it was set before the American Civil War. Rejection is explored in many ways in both of these novels. Both main protagonists reject the values of society but they do this in different ways. Huck from Huckleberry Finn, has trouble with rejecting the fact that antebellum American society is wrong by legitimising slavery. He has been brainwashed to believe that having a slave is acceptable as it was seen as a norm in the southern states of America in the 1840's, when the novel is set. Even though Twain portrays Huck to be an independent thinker he still is unable to be a fully formed social outcast and break away from social, moral values at that time of inequality in the races. We see this when he is compromised in helping the fugitive Jim. A key difference is that Holden from Catcher, rejects the peer pressure of being like everyone else and comes to terms with being an individual. Whereas Huck cannot see past the hypocrisy. Holden seems to have more cynical views about people and their beliefs, and so he willingly chooses to be an independent individual by seeing things differently than other teenagers his age.
Huckleberry Finn's setting shows the social background of the early nineteenth century when it was legally and socially acceptable to have slaves in the southern states of America. Catcher was published in a time where teenagers were seen as increasingly rebellious, and as potential consumers and had more liberal attitudes towards sex and drugs. There was pressure on teenagers to conform to society to fit in with more traditional values. Teenagers found it important to create an identity; Holden embodies this new spirit and takes it upon himself...
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