Provide similarities and differences between The Catcher in the Rye and A Thousand Splendid Suns and give examples.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catcher in the Rye and A Thousand Splendid Suns may be compared thematically.  They both grapple with the theme of the loss of innocence.  In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is very bitter towards the adult world because he feels betrayed by it.  He does not feel like he had a stable childhood in which he could explore his dreams and fantasies.  Because he feels this way, Holden loves his little sister Phoebe and always tries to give her every opportunity to just be a kid.

Similarly, in A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam is also robbed of her childhood.  She spends much of her life in a small hut with her mother dreaming of the day when her father will take her to live with him.  Mariam's mother criticizes these dreams, telling her daughter that Jalil does not keep his promises.  When Mariam does go to live with her father, his wives decide that she is a nuisance and convince him to give her away in marriage to an abusive man.

So, in both novels, the protagonists have been stripped of their childhood innocence and spend much of their adult lives bitter and resigned as a result.  The differences between the two books are endless:  geography, culture, gender; however, they connect through the theme of the loss of innocence.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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