Ethan Frome And Catcher In The Rye

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The novels Ethan Frome and Catcher in the Rye by Edith Wharton and J.D.Salinger, respectively, are two great works that depict two characters’ struggles in life. Three themes that both novels share are the need for companionship, regret over lost potential and immersion in a fantasy world. Ethan Frome and Holden Caulfield are both very lonely characters in desperate need for companionship and compassion. They both search for human contact of sorts to prevent the onset of loneliness. Frome marries Zenobia Pierce prematurely, only to obviate “the mortal silence of…long imprisonment.” (Wharton, page 61) He wanted “the sound of a …voice” to fill the void on his farm. (Wharton, page 61) Likewise, Holden seeks conviviality with Sally Hayes though he dislikes her phoniness. He ends the “depress[ing]” date by calling Sally a “royal pain in the ass.”(Salinger, page 133) Both characters were merely looking for companionship in their otherwise lonely lives but both encounters ended badly, for Frome on a large scale and for Holden on a smaller scale. Undoubtedly, these rash acts to receive camaraderie illustrate the foolhardiness of the protagonists. They both abhor solitude but are unsure how to find viable friendship. Throughout both novels, many characters, if not the protagonists themselves, express regret over lost potential. Ethan Frome had a “premature end” put to his studies. (Wharton, page 24) His great interest in the narrator’s biochemistry book reflects not only his “aggrieve[ment] at is own ignorance” but also his keen interest for learning. It also reflects his compunction for neglect of his education. Although Holden himself does not have any qualms about ruining his education, others around him, like Frome, express regret that what could have been, will never be. Mr.Antolini sees Holden “dying nobly…for some highly unworthy cause.” (Salinger, page 188) He says

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