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Comparison Between J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield And Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn

1165 words - 5 pages

The purpose of an automobile is to transport an individual to a desired place. The same holds true for a horse and carriage. However far-fetched it may seem, this is a perfect analogy for the comparison of Huck and Holden. Huck would represent the horse and carriage and Holden would represent the automobile. They both serve the same purpose (transportation), yet in different time periods. Huck and Holden go through the same basic experiences and growth that is normal for most teenagers. Although Huck and Holden live in very different time periods, teenage 'coming of age' is a timeless concept that transcends all time periods and cultures. Holden and Huck both go through totally different experiences, yet incredibly alike to find/define themselves.Time is a concept infinitely complex to the human mind. How much time has to expire for a certain time "period?" Is this just an arbitrary labeling? How does time affect society? What does any of this have to with Huck and Holden? Time is a key idea to establish Holden as a continuation of Huck. However, one must understand that teenage rebellion and growth has been around for a very long time. This is an idea that was established way before Huck, let alone Holden's time. Throughout different cultures, times, societies, etc...there is some sort of rite of passage that one must go through to become an "adult." The Jews have bar/bat mitzvahs. School is another rite of passage that currently seems to be the trend, along with receiving a Drivers license. The notion of Rebellion has always been present in teenagers as a way to question things that they before had assumed as true. Rebelliousness is one that helps teens find themselves as individuals, not products of their parents or society.Both Huck and Holden have some desire for breaking rules. Huck has a desire to take a runaway slave and travel down the Mississippi River and Holden for some reason, cannot stay in one school for very long. It is very accurate to conclude that Holden is a continuation of Huck. They both have a fundamental need to disobey societal norms.The idea that Huck and Holden are lost children is a theme that pervades both of the books in which they play the central role. In Catcher in the Rye Holden displays his ignorance of how the world works throughout the book, we see this quite specifically in the chapter when he gets the hooker sent to his room. He doesn't know himself well enough to think in advance that he would be scared to have sex. Why else would he ask for "a throw" but then deny himself from the experience? He is afraid and doesn't know what to do. This reaches a pinnacle when he finally breaks down and cries. "All of a sudden I started to cry. I'd give anything if I hadn't, but I did. "No, you're no crooks," I said. "You're just stealing five-"This sums up exactly what permeates the book. Holden over-reacting in a way which defines himself. The same thing occurs in Huck Finn. "It was a close place. I took it up, and...

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