Isolation in Classic Novels
Isolation happens all the time, whether it is someone staying home ignoring the populous or a teenager ignoring his family it isn’t something new. In the two novels we have read this past quarter The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye isolation is one topic that is continually brought up. Different themes and issues are used in each book as a way to bring up and show isolation. Even though both novels use this topic The Catcher in the Rye does a better job of getting the reader to understand isolation than The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby isolation is shown through the hollowness of the upper-class. One instance that shows this quite well is in chapter one when Nick goes to visit his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom. Nick and Daisy are talking alone when she tells Nick what she first said when her child was born to explain why she has become cynical about everything: "It'll show you how I've gotten to feel about – things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. 'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool – that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'" (1.116-118). The upper-class are careless and inconsiderate because of the money they have, that they use to ease their minds. Daisy, even though she is very rich, gave birth alone. Tom couldn’t care less on how her birth went and she knows it. That is why Daisy says she wants her daughter to be a fool, because then she won’t notice the isolation when she is older. Later in the book in chapter three at one of Gatsby’s parties it is said: “The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names.” (3.4). Even surrounded by many people there is this sense of isolation and hollowness. They meet people and then instantly forget about it and they are excited to see people they don’t even know. They act like they are excited and happy to be there but there is this empty feeling to the whole thing. With all the different people it shouldn’t be hard to find or make friends, but it is. Everyone is left isolated and alone.
The topic of isolation isn’t exclusive to The Great Gatsby; The Catcher in the Rye also has many instances involving isolation. In The Catcher in the Rye thou it is portrayed in a different way. In The Catcher in the Rye it uses self-protection as its showing method. In the very beginning pages of the book Holden clues us in on how he thinks by saying, “Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game. […] I remember around three...