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”The Catcher in the Rye” and ”Great Expectations” by J.D. Salinger and Charles Dickens Essay Sample

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”The Catcher in the Rye” and ”Great Expectations” by J.D. Salinger and Charles Dickens Essay Sample

When analyzing and comparing The Catcher in the Rye and Great Expectations, by J.D. Salinger and Charles Dickens respectively, one usually stops and ponders, what can these two novels possibly have in common? Well I can tell you, quite a lot. To begin with, both are fictional autobiographies, narrated personally by the protagonists, that is Holden and Pip. However, regardless of the fact that they are both narrated in the first person, one, Great Expectations is a full life story, and you can tell by the very beginning, Pip starts by giving us a full background description of his self and his family, hence starting his autobiography from the very beginning. Holden, on the other hand starts with the very quote ” If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” This demonstrates, precisely that he has absolutely no intention of telling you his whole life story, only the part he finds relevant.

Both novels are also retrospectives, that is they are protagonists revisiting their past experiences and passing them on to the reader, however, there is again a striking difference, in Catcher in the Rye, when Holden narrates his experiences he is only a few weeks or months older than he was when the occurrences actually took place, that means, he has had time to rethink his actions but he is not significantly more mature and has accepted them or had time to deal with them. Pip on the other hand, tells his story many and many years after it has taken place, the are “older Pip’s” reflections, he has had time to deal with it and understand his actions and the meaning of his story, therefore his narrative will probably be much more pondered than Holden’s. That clearly shows in the structure of the first section of both the novels, Great Expectations is a completely rational progression, it starts with his name, moves on to his family and concludes with his world, clearly creating an atmosphere and introducing a character. Catcher in the Rye, on the other hand, seems much more like the narrator’s thoughts directly translated into paper, then a carefully structured novel.

In Great Expectations, the author clearly demonstrates elements of a formal literary style, he uses articulate vocabulary and expressions, like ” Entertain an opinion” rather then just have one. Dickens also uses long complex, frases, which requires the readers’ full, undivided attention in order to relate the beginning of each sentence to its distant end. Salinger on the other hand, utilizes a much more informal kind of script, slang and popular expressions appear very frequently in The Catcher in the Rye, which is perfectly understandable given that the narrator is a seventeen year-old.

It is apparent in Dickens’ style that does not only seek to entertain or amuse the reader, but to elevate the dramatic and literary experience of the language. His long and elaborate sentences suggest a powerful style that captivates the reader from the beginning to the end, several lines and thought lines later. Salinger has a note-worthy style as well, despite his less classical form of writing. His more casual style and less then proper vocabulary bring Holden Caulfield to life. He writes as if he were the character, a seventeen year-old New Yorker form the 40s, the language and the style directly entice the reader because it is easier to identify and relate to this less formal kind of script, because it is closer to the way we speak, then to elaborate Victorian lines.

In a nutshell, despite their marking styles, different as they may be, both The Catcher in the Rye, and Great Expectations, are both wonderful classics that entice the reader. Regardless of their contradicting approaches, both novels, are of the same basic nature and look to tell the story of two boys and their respective crises and successes.

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