What do Holden Caulfield fromThe Catcher in the Rye and Willy Loman fromDeath of a Salesman come to understand about their existences?  Recall Holdens last moment with Pheobe at the carrousel...

What do Holden Caulfield fromThe Catcher in the Rye and Willy Loman fromDeath of a Salesman come to understand about their existences? 

Recall Holdens last moment with Pheobe at the carrousel and Willy Loman's last scene with Biff in the dining room. Draw a connection across both works and explain the similar realization that both Holden and Willy have.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is a rather surprising connection. At the moment in question for Willy, he is failing to come to terms with the fact that he has lost his job and his two sons are standing in judgement over him (as he sees it). Willy loses his already tenuous grasp on reality and plunges into despair and delusion and soon commits suicide. 

Holden, alternatively, realizes that his desperation has a balm. Innocence is not dead just because he has lost it for himself. Phoebe demonstrates the fact that the world is not made of phoneys. Good people - honest and innocent people - still exist. 

Holden realizes fully in this moment that he has lost his own innocence, but also realizes that this is not a tragedy. The transient nature of life becomes real and Holden gives up his fight against it. 

Where Holden's realization leads him back to reality and healing, Willy's despair swells to its breaking point.

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