Catcher In The Rye And The Bell Jar Analysis

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In the two novels, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, the protagonists are similarly faced with deaths and being unable to accept the society in which they live in, which lead them to go a bleak journey to get a way from it all. I was attracted to these two works because of the controversies they struck. This essay aims will aim to explore the question: “Does Holden and Esther’s characters develop in The Catcher in the Rye and in The Bell Jar respectively?” This investigation first examines the theme of death in both novels to reveal the development characters achieve from it. The theme of death is explored as a means of rebirth and a means of escape from their realities. Then the symbols that are recurrent in their respective novels are explored to contrast the state of Esther and Holden at the beginning and the end. The bell jar of Esther and…show more content…
Holden is curious about death and often wonders what it felt to ‘commit suicide’(Salinger, 104) and how ‘Phoebe would feel’(156) if he had done so. He constantly injects the theme in his language, saying people ‘[killed] him.’(86) Critics argue that death to keep things how they are, to keep them constant, is what people get out of the novel, leading to murders like that of Lennon and Kennedy. The culprits were thought to have murdered these icons to preserve their image through death (Withfield, 174) There are definitely instances that could support this, the chief of which was Holden’s trip to the museum. He thought the best thing about it was that ‘everything always stayed right where it was.’(121) These were one of the few things that made him ‘happy’(120) when he thought about it because the ‘mummies’, ‘’Indians’ and ‘Eskimos’ were always behind ‘glass cases’(121) and nothing would be ‘different’. However, again the critics may only be scratching the

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