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An Analysis Of The Influence Of Tragedy On The Innocent

2867 words - 12 pages

From the years of 1938 to 1945, while the entire world was preoccupied with World War II, the Nazi Party led by dictator Adolf Hitler planned and executed the killing of almost six million Jewish people.This calamity snatched the innocence of those who survived in inconceivable manner. They suffer withanimmense amount guilt simply because they believe that are wrong for surviving whereas their loved ones paid the ultimate price. In recent years Holocaust survivors have had an “increased risk of attempted suicide” (Barak, Y). For these people forgetting is a crime but recollection will not allow them to move. However there are some survivors who found a way to optimistically look towards the future. Holocaust survivor and writer, Ellie Weisel, summed up these feelings by explaining that, “Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.” Learning from the past and growing up comes with a certain end of childhood innocence without which the progression to maturity cannot occur. This enlightenment and the journey from innocence to experience are prominent themes in both The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky. The former outlines four days in the life of a troubled teenaged boy named Holden Caulfield who is expelled from his preparatory school and spends his time roaming the streets of New York City. The latter is a compilation of letters written by a young boy, who goes by the alias Charlie, in which he discusses deepest feeling regarding his grief stricken adolescence. Both Chbosky and Salinger explore the behaviours and minds of teenaged boys who are trying to find themselves in a world that they do not fully understand yet. However, both of their characters cope with the rejection and grief in different manners and thus achieve different results. Charlie is able accept his losses and actively participate in his life whereas Holden continues give his pain a place in his life and closes himself off from the world. Due to his more accepting attitude, Charlie has a better chance to thrive and live a prosperous life than Holden.
Accepting change and being able to adapt to unexpected occurrences are signs of a strong individual. Charlie grows to appreciate the idea of new people and events in his life whereas Holden despises change. First, Holden loathes the fact that people eventually grow up and adopt different viewpoints and believes than the ones that they had before. His favourite place in the entire city is the Museum of Natural History. When Holden goes to museum to find his sister, Phoebe, he explains that he loves the museum so much because “everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different” (Salinger 121). This site is so appealing to him because it is unchanging and absolute. It is a symbol of permanency. The museum represents Holden’s vision for an ideal world because it is undisturbed and it never confuses...

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