Explore how the theme of rejection is presented in Twain Essay

Submitted By tieganlorty69
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Pages: 7

Explore how the theme of rejection is presented in Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’.

The theme of rejection is shown throughout both novels and their protagonists. Twain and Salinger explore various different ideas of rejection in the extracts I have chosen, and both characters experience the rejection from internal conflict and isolation as they develop. The extract from ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is from the start of the book where he is being told by the widow and Miss Watson’s views on how society’s expectations of a ‘normal’ life impacts Huckleberry, although this shows hypocrisy. The extract from ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ is when Holden has a phone call conversation with Sally and then talks about his feelings afterwards. It is a crucial time for both characters as Huck is realising the ‘normal life’ and Holden is just coming round to the idea of conforming to society’s views of a ‘normal life’ by following the conventions of the phone call.
Both texts fit into the genre of Bildungsroman because both Huckleberry Finn and Holden become more reliable characters. In Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River is used as a symbol of liberation when Huck and Jim are sailing downwards. Another important characteristic of a Bildungsroman is the evolution of themes. The protagonist in The Catcher In The Rye, Holden Caulfield, interacts with the various “phonies” around him, his encounter with Sunny, the prostitute and his later conversations with his sister Phoebe are all indicators of how the protagonist has matured. Also, Catcher In The Rye fits in with the bildungsroman genre because Holden is presented as a social outcast who carries his own opinions. The extract I have chosen has followed this genre because it shows Holden’s journey to maturity throughout the novel but mainly in the middle and what he believes an adult should behave like and not what society is portrayed to be. The rise of the teenager came about in the 1950’s where Catcher In The Rye was set. The word ‘teenager’ was created due to the tremendous population of those in that age category and because of this teenagers started to gain more freedom and independence. The rejection is well expressed through this context as Holden rejects the views society has for him to grow up like, for example in the extract Holden tries to cut to the chase but is actually trying to make an effort to following convention ‘Well, listen. How are ya anyway?’. However in Huckleberry Finn, Huck has no preconceptions or opinions therefore is being taught how society is wants teenagers to live a ‘normal’ life. In the extract is shows Miss Watson and the widow telling Holden what to do, however they use a lot of hypocrisy as Miss Watson tells Huckleberry he is not allowed to smoke because that is what society wants the teenager to conform as, but she likes to smoke herself.
Elements of the Bildungsroman genre is present in extract 2, however the text does not completely conform to conventions. Holden chooses to phone Sally and try to follow conventions of a polite conversation but sometimes forgetting this because he wants to get straight to the point. We then recognise that it shows that Holden is acknowledging his role in society as he is willing to talk to Sally like an adult and carry on this throughout his relationship with Sally. Holden, taking the relationship male role would fit the expectations of the genre, but after getting off the phone goes back to rejecting being fully integrated within society by returning to the style of narrative we are used to. Using words like ‘swell’ are very abrupt. By using the type of language typical of his generation, Holden is showing that he rejects the rigid expectations of society, however his attempt to follow conventions and expectations of society shows pioneering rejection from the norm. Using the word ‘swell’ also shows that Holden can be awkward around Sally as well as