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How do you compare or contrast Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye and Jay...
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High School Teacher
There are some thematic connections between Holden Caulfield and Jay Gatsby: deception, self-deception and illusion/delusion.
Jay Gatsby is a person who intentionally obscures his past and lies about it, effectively creating a persona for himself that acts as a performance.
Holden is not outwardly deceptive in this way, but he does resemble Gatsby in his belief in certain romantic self-conceptions. Holden dreams of going to the woods to live in isolation. This dream is no more or less romantic than Gatsby's vision of himself as fulfilling his romance with Daisy and achieving a perfection of romantic love. Notably, Holden also imagines bringing his girlfriend with him to the woods and, carried away by the idea, invites her to join him in rustic isolation.
Holden also conjures up an image of nature and innocence intertwined when he makes a spur-of-the-moment proposal to run away with Sally Hayes. He talks about living in "cabin camps" and later getting a house near a brook, somewhere in rural Massachusetts or Vermont, away from the corruption of the city. Sally's dismissal of the notion reinforces his outsider status again. (eNotes)
Additionally, Gatsby believes that one can repeat the past. This state of basic delusion and fervor matches Holden's emotional state which leads him to talk to his dead brother. The unreal becomes real and the impossible becomes possible for both characters, at least in their minds.
Posted by e-martin on July 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM (Answer #1)
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