Comparing Catcher In The Rye And The Grapes Of Wrath

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John Baylon Mrs. Hobbs Classical Literature 10 September 2015 Summer Compare & Contrast Essay Although J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In the Rye and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath differ in storyline, both novels convey a similar idea that the corruption of society influences the innocence of the individual and family. Within J.D. Salinger’s novel, the reader views the life of a sixteen year old troubled teen, Holden Caulfield. After the loss of his younger brother, Allie, from leukemia and being expelled from Pency Prep, Holden decides to leave and wander in New York. However during his sightseeing, Holden soon discovers what he calls the “phoniness” of adults and the pain of growing up; while experiencing this…show more content…
Within J.D. Salinger’s novel for example, Holden returns to a cheap hotel after leaving Ernie’s nightclub. Once he comes back, he speaks with Maurice about hiring a prostitute for the night. When Sunny appears at Holden’s room and attempts to seduce him, Holden makes an excuse and explains, “I said I’d pay you for coming and all. I really will. I have plenty of dough. It’s just that I’m practically recovering from a very serious-” (Salinger 108-109). After the loss Holden’s younger brother, the idea of being intimate petrifies Holden. However, he desires to become intimate with Jane Gallagher, a girl whom Holden spent much of his time one summer in Maine. The idea of intimacy with Jane makes Holden feel emotionally stable whereas a corrupt society provides a superficial relationship with a hooker that avoids the emotional satisfaction that Holden needs. Later in the novel, Holden returns to the Museum of Natural History while waiting for his young sister, Phoebe. While Holden wanders around the museum, he, “ Went down a different staircase, and saw another “Fuck You” on the wall. [He] tried to rub it off with [his] hand again, but this was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn’t come off. It’s hopeless anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.” (222). The reader recognizes that Holden is confined within walls of phoniness and corruption. The profanity written on the walls becomes too much for Holden. In a sense, he desires to eradicate all profanity, therefore protecting the innocence of children, but as Holden indicates, it’s nearly impossible. Unlike Holden in Catcher in the Rye, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath concentrates society’s corruption on self-interested people. While the Joad’s and Wilson’s drove to California together, Ma Joad and Rose

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