Essay on Modern Works

Submitted By nepats81
Words: 975
Pages: 4

Many works of literature focus on easily relatable issues. That is, common themes which every person can understand. Such works often connect to their readers on a much deeper level, and the lasting impressions can turn a novel into a piece of art, a masterpiece. To construct such a powerful message, the author must weave his theme into a relatively comprehendible story; however to generalize the story too much creates a bland, spineless piece of junk. These awfully boring books are usually eaten alive by the mass of society but never pass the test of time. So the question arises, do any modern works boldly capture the essence of what makes us human? The Catcher in the Rye, written almost sixty years ago, tells the story of an adolescent caught in a society where growing up directly correlates to losing the innocence of your childhood. The boy, Holden Caulfield, is surrounded by other teens that are turning more “phony” with each day they mature. One such boy, Stradlater, happens to be Caulfield’s roommate at the prestigious boarding school Pencey. When Holden learns that his childhood sweetheart is going on a date with Stradlater, he is dumbfounded. Caulfield becomes uneasy because he has trouble accepting that his old girlfriend is beginning to blossom into a young woman. As Stradlater is departing to pick up his date, Holden calls out, “Ask her if she still keeps all her kings in the back row” (Salinger 34). The burning curiosity over such a pointless memory guides the reader to conclude that Holden is far too protective of his childhood and wishes everything could stay innocent and pure. Holden’s obsession with purity resurfaces FUUCK QUOTE. Holden’s grief over the death of his brother also develops a common trait of humanity. The reader begins to see Holden’s inability to accept his brother Allie’s death when Holden is to write a descriptive composition. The subject matter could be a room or a house, but Holden wrote about Allie’s baseball mitt because he “couldn’t think of anything else descriptive” (Salinger 39). On the same page, Holden tells how he broke every window in the garage with his fist when he learned of his brother’s death. The initial reaction, breaking windows, is much easier for a reader to understand because Holden was obviously strung up with emotion. Although a couple years later, Holden self-punishing rage still derives from the loss. Later in the novel, Phoebe asks Holden to “name one thing” he likes besides Allie. Holden replies, “…I can still like him, though, can’t I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake- especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all.” Holden’s response to his younger sister’s question allows the reader to see just how deep the scars of death can impact a maturing youth. The Catcher in the Rye also incorporates humanity’s feeling of isolation. Caulfield rarely connects with the other characters in the novel and most interactions end in some sort of dispute. Holden’s struggle to be accepted and his sorrow felt from being alone is clearly established when he gets drunk at a hotel bar. When I finally got down off the radiator and went out to the hat-check room, I was crying and all. I don’t know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome. Then, when I went out to the checkroom, I couldn’t find my goddam check. The hat-check girl was very nice about it, though… I sort of tried to make a date with her for when she got through working, but she wouldn’t do it. She said she was old to be my mother and all.

Holden constantly refers to his state of