Legal Law

Watch the characters grow – The catcher in the rye and to kill a mockingbird

For most of us, reading “The Catcher in the Rye” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” stands out as highlights of the high school literary experience. This is no Charles Dickens; both stories are narrated by young protagonists in everyday language and are full of juvenile ideas, namely that adulthood sucks. Holden Caulfield and Scout Finch are two children looking down the path that connects childhood and adulthood, only from opposite ends of the journey. Both are full of contradictions, both challenge the gender stereotypes of their time, and both make the rest of us think, I’m glad I’m not the only one!

Holden is a gray-haired seventeen-year-old who effortlessly switches between trying to “practice a little” on a hooker (you know, in case she “gets married or something”) and “wobbler” pretending to get shot by Hollywood. -thug style. Suffice to say, he has yet to find the balance between becoming a man and playing cops and robbers. Of course, the fact that Holden despises most adults and hero worships his dead little brother doesn’t help the transition much either.

Holden is the kind of guy you want to alternately befriend and punch in the face with. Let’s face it: while his observations of the adult world are generally spot on, his level of self-awareness is somewhat lacking. “People always think something is true.” Always, Holden? Or what about the fact that he hates all things “fake” but he’s proud to be “the most terrible liar you’ve ever seen in your life”? Then again, we can’t help but love the image of Holden in his preppy clothes and red bucket hat eradicating the f-word from his little sister’s school like a true vigilante. Holden may be a half-mad, self-deluded liar, but he has decency where decency counts.

Sometimes, in fact, it sounds radically feminist, arguing that because sex requires objectification, a guy shouldn’t want to “get sexy” on a woman he cares about. She even admits that the main reason he’s still a virgin is because every time a girl tells him to stop, she actually does. Gasp! Okay, nowadays this isn’t something you should get any awards for, but remember that the story *is* set in the 1950s. We challenged the other characters in Catcher in the Rye to show half as much strength. moral.

Speaking of moral strength, though Scout is 6 at the start of To Kill a Mockingbird and at a much more carefree time in her life than Holden, her upbringing in segregated 1930s Alabama has a rather dramatic effect on her learning curve. When her lawyer father wholeheartedly but unsuccessfully defends a crippled black man in court for a crime he obviously did not commit, Scout discovers that contrary to what most 6-year-olds are told, the Personal morality, social ethics and law are not all members of the same happy family. Heck, they don’t even live in the same part of town.

That’s not to say, however, that Scout has a perfectly calibrated moral compass of her own. She believes the local lockdown to be a potential predator, killer, and creature of the black lagoon despite her repeated gestures of kindness; she cannot conceive of the fact that her black housekeeper has a life, a family, and a community that extends beyond simply caring for white children; she can’t stand it when the kids on the playground call her dad a “blacks lover”; she doesn’t mind seeing her father’s defendant mistreated because he’s “just black.” As much as we prefer Scout over the other characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, we can’t help but shudder to see adult prejudice and childish gullibility throwing sleepovers in her brain.

Between seeing her neighbors turn on her family, seeing her father lose a winning case, hearing about the defendant’s subsequent murder, being attacked by a drunken fan, and oh yeah, befriending the neighborhood psychopath, Scout loses alone. a hint of her innocence; However, with the guidance of her father, she manages to show some maturity as she does so. This process is aided by the fact that Scout adores, emulates, and even dresses as her father and her older brother. In fact, what Holden has in feminine sensibilities, Scout more than makes up for in her tomboyish ferocity: she spits, curses, fights, and can hold her own against her older brother’s friends. This combination of innate spirit and parental direction gives us hope for an adult Scout that we never felt for Holden. We’d actually be very curious to see what kind of direction Holden’s parents take. Where are Holden’s parents, anyway?

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