Great Expectations Essay

Submitted By KyleOBryan
Words: 1135
Pages: 5

Kyle O’Bryan
Mrs. Pennington
Honors English 10
February 21, 2014
Holden vs. Pip J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations both rank in the list of most famous and most read classical novels. Both being bildungsroman and having a young man as the protagonist they share similar coming of age, misfit qualities. In contrast, the attitude given of from Salinger’s Holden is more appealing, rather than Dickens’ Pip. While both are coming of age novels, The Catcher in the Rye is more relevant to teenagers. Holden Caulfield is a more exciting and compatible character for teenagers to relate to. Holden and Pip share very similar qualities that make them both fit the description of a misfit, but Holden contains different traits, that relate him closer to twenty-first century teenagers, and that set him apart from Pip. Holden is a more outspoken and blunt boy, while Pip is a more hushed and placid boy. “Sleep tight, ya morons” (Page 52) and “I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains” (92) compared to the mild attitude Pip conveys shows the difference. Although Pip appears to be the more pleasant and appealing character, Holden is more intriguing. In today’s society, most teenagers are very selective with literature and which books are considered good or bad. During the adolescent stage in life, there is a lot of change and confusion. Holden goes through the same experiences, only sixty years ago. Granting that Pip is also coming of age, Holden relates to teens better. J. Clay from the New York Times says, “The Catcher in the Rye is not dated, uninteresting, or irrelevant to my generation as compared to yours. Holden’s rebellious search to understand human nature and himself, is something every human being must go through at some point of his or her life, usually during adolescence.” This shows how valuable the novel is for teenagers to read and relate to. While both Pip and Holden are historic and renowned fictional characters, Holden has a more engaging humor that teenagers need to enjoy classic literature, which Pip does not bear. Holden’s motives are clearer and more appealing for teenagers. Holden is also more mysterious in a way that makes the reader want to keep reading out of curiosity for the full knowledge of Holden’s life. Pip is less appealing because we see more of his life through his past, present, and future over a large stretch of time, which makes the reader less curious. Since the reader knows so much about Pip, there is not as much mystery that has to do with him besides the benefactor situation and other minor parts of the novel. This curiosity that teenagers have make Holden the more relevant character for teenagers to want to read about. Throughout the novel, Holden is very lost, and his confusion almost results in death. Holden’s motives that lead him to go into the downward spiral are more applicable to the lives of teenagers now. The motives are his brother’s death, his fourth expulsion, and a series of unfortunate events that lead to a minor depression and loneliness. Although Holden’s causes are very harsh, teenagers still have a taste of what all of those causes/motives are like. Yet, Pip is troubled for a completely different reason with different causes that are less engaging. To aspire to be a gentleman, planned marriage, high expectations, and the lack of parents are the main source for Pip’s troubles throughout his journey. These reasons are not as relevant in teenager’s lives for them to be aroused with curiosity and interest. Nancy Schnog, a high school English teacher, wrote on the “Washington Post” about The Catcher in the Rye. The following is what one of her students wrote in an essay about Holden, “‘By tenth grade, I had been drunk for the first time. I knew rebellion against my parents, the difficulties of teenage romance, and the fakeness of social interaction. As a reader in the