Jumping To Conclusions In J.D. Salinger´S The Catcher In The Rye And Curtis Sittenfeld Prep

1567 words - 7 pages

They say not to judge a book by its cover, as what is on the inside is more important than what is on the exterior. As a human race, one of the first things done is jumping to conclusions about people without knowing them thoroughly. The novels, The Catcher in the Rye and Prep by J.D. Salinger and Curtis Sittenfeld respectively, both portray this theme. Although the books do this in a different manner and convey different messages through this basic lesson, they both provide validity to the statement with realistic events occurring to teenagers. Sharing similarities in plot, the Washington Post makes a comment connecting the two protagonists saying, "Holden Caulfield would love this heroine." Holden and Lee, the male and female protagonists of the novels, both display the judgments people make through their narrations of the stories. Despite the similarities in the plot, characters and personality traits of the two, after getting to know Lee Holden would not want to pursue a friendship with Lee, by feeling negatively about her, contradicting the comment by the Washington Post due to her judgmental personality which mends easily to its surroundings.
In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger develops the story with the narrations by Holden Caulfield, a male teenager who gets kicked out of private school and struggles emotionally with different aspects of life. Throughout the narration and the flashbacks for Holden, it is evident that he pays close attention to detail and makes conclusions about people based on their behavior. The first example of this is of the alumni member, Ossenburger who his dorm was named after. Despite not knowing him personally, Holden talks about him and how he imagines him to be. "You should see old Ossenburger. He probably just shoves them in a sack and dumps them in the river. Anyway, he gave Pencey a pile of dough, and they named our wing alter him. The first football game of the year, he came up to school in this big goddam Cadillac, and we all had to stand up in the grandstand and give him a locomotive--that's a cheer... made a speech that lasted about ten hours...That killed me." (Salinger 16) Through this part of the narration, Holden reveals his perception of people by their actions. He noted that Ossenburger started off with corny jokes, and how he was using his money for attention. Holden does not perceive the usage of Ossenburger's money as effective and worth the attention. He does not think money should have an effect on rank or social status. Holden's opinion of Ossenburger shows his value against materialism. He does not appreciate the usage of money to gain power, or to be used in negative ways. He would rather have friendships and relationships based on personality characteristics.
Another example of Holden observing characteristics in people based on their behavior, is with his dorm-mate Ackley. From the first introduction, Holden describes him negatively by noting his oddness, "He hardly ever went...

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