Catcher in the Rye and Paul’s Case
Topic: There have been numerous of influences, sources and parallels that have been raised by critics ever since the publications of both the Paul’s case by Willa Cather as well as in the Catcher in the Rye by J.D’s Salinger. Based on the J. D’s Salinger’s story, Paul’s case by Willa Cather is another work that exhibits a variety of parallels in comparison to Catcher’s main character with regards to the motifs, plot, themes as well as the setting.
Based on the plot of both stories there is a lot of comparison that can be noted as well as the aspects that bring up the concept of contrast. For instance, it is quite obvious that both Holden and Paul are teenagers who are outsiders. However, the parallels tend to run deeper. This is due to the fact that Paul is with no doubt tall with regards to his age while Holden apparently is 6 feet and 2 inches at the age of 16 (Salinger, 34). The boys are referred to as being weak based on the few scenarios that are discussed on their physical abilities.
The plots of both stories are quite similar. The two main boys are chased away from school and they end up fleeing to the same locale, New York. However, their time in the city is limited due to the fact that they lack money as well as the fact that they were worried of their father’s reactions when they realise what had happened to them. The two boys end up meeting in the same hotel with characters that mainly tend to symbolize their own aspirations.
The most captivating aspect of both stories is that they do not only take place in New York City but they also happen during the Christmas period, which is normally a time set for family and also celebration. Contrast is established in both stories when the high spirits and the bright lights of the season as well as the city versus the drudgery of school and home life. Paul’s case and Catcher in the rye use the pervasive snow to signify the cold alienation that is felt by the protagonist. The hotel to both boys is like an escape solution to all the problems that they are facing and the music and dancers help them to relax and cope with the situation.
Both stories have similar motifs. For instance, the defiance of Paul with regards to the authority is mainly shown by the use of a red carnation he tends to wear (Cather, 15). Towards the end of the story Paul gives up his dreams as he removes drooping carnation that are in his coat indicating ‘red glory over’ and thus burry it in the snow. Holden on the other hand experiences a moment of defiance and independence when he tends to put a red capping cap and later turns it backward. As he tries to put the cap on his sister’s head she passes it back to him to protect him from the rain.Holden specifically wants to help and catch the children that fall from the Rye field but he also experiences the fear of falling off from the curb and disappearing (Salinger, 88). As for Paul when he jumps right in front of the train the fear of losing his life flushes right in front of him as he gets back to the real situation (Cather, 22) This clearly shows that both stories tend to use the motif of falling to illustrate the loss that is faced in the purity of childhood .
In conclusion, both stories mainly use similar plots, characters, setting as well as motifs to stress on the same theme which is: the unavoidable loss of the youth mainly at the hands of the adult reality
Cather,Willa.Paul’s Case:Short Story.NewYork:Harper Collins,2009.Internet resource
Salinger,Jerome,David. Catcher in the Rye.NewYork:Harper Collins,1986.Internet resource