1. Compare and contrast the theme of deception/betrayal in The Catcher in the Rye and Hamlet. 2. Create a thesis statement. 3. Create a thesis statement for all 3 paragraphs.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While I can't write a thesis statement for you, there are some significant similarities between Holden Caulfield and Hamlet. Hamlet is usually played by older actors in films and plays, yet we know that he was away at school in Wittenberg, so it is possible that he's quite close in age to Holden. Like many adolescents, both are searching for meaning, and both are frequently disappointed in the world around them. Holden is not so much deceived as let down by those around him (many of whom he calls "phonies"), whether adults or peers. When a teacher calls life a "game," Holden responds, "Game my ass. Some game" (8). However, there is a notable betrayal later in the novel when he goes to visit a former teacher; he spends the night there and wakes up to find the teacher sitting next to him and touching him, which prompts him to flee. It's really only his younger sister, Phoebe, who doesn't let him down and so represents an innocence and purity that he has lost.

Hamlet's view of the world and people around him can be summed up in his line, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." From the ghost of his father, he learns that his uncle, King Claudius, killed his father, married his mother, and took the throne. So the whole action of the play is based on a significant betrayal by his family. He is deeply hurt and plots his revenge, but learns that he cannot trust anyone around him, including two ostensible friends of his, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whom Claudius has brought to the court to spy on Hamlet. He even takes it out on Ophelia, perhaps the only person in Elsinore whom he can trust.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial