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In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, and the play Antigone both main characters Holden and Creon are alienated or isolated from society. Through their journey they both develop the theme which is wisdom is gained through suffering and experience. J. D. Salinger’s novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ portrays to the reader a protagonist named Holden Caulfield who desires independence and feels that the world is an inhospitable place, that he holds contempt for, Holden like many teenagers seeks a sense of identity but does not look for it through his connections with others.

The book highlights this and his issue of identity is explored through Holden, himself, who can be correlated to other people living in forced isolation and alienation. Holden constantly labels “phoney-ness” on the adult world and forces self alienation as a way of self protection for himself to further illustrate his independence from a world he is not connected to. In the drama “Antigone” by Sophocles we can see that Creon is also the protagonist. Creon is obsessed with greed and power. The play highlights this by capturing the controlling and manipulative ways of Creon’s personality.

We can see that he is not directly wanting to be alone like Holden but that he doesn’t care about anyone else other than himself. This is self inflicting insolation, because no one will what to endure his presents. This help’s develop the theme because we can see both of the characters flaws and how they are going to grow. Holden is a compelling character, because we are not sure what he is going to do next. He purchased a red hunting hat that will make him stand out in a crowd, or protect himself from the outside world.

He wears a hunting hat to show his uniqueness and isolates him self to portray that he is better than others and above interacting with them. In the beginning on the novel we see that the hat is used more frequently, to hide his true emotions. He tends to wear his hat when he is alone and thinking to himself. But he did wear it in a crowd of people so no one would talk to him. As he is in New York he tends to stop wearing the hat so often this meaning that he is growing up and maturing. Then eventually he even gives the hat to Phoebe showing that he is now an adult.

There are many conflicts that Creon has to over come before he realizes that he is not the only person he truly cares about. Creon puts himself at a position of power, he go against his word saying that he would listen to the people of Thebes. Now he is going to send people to death even if they are listening to the gods. Because Creon is at a postison of power he can do whatever he wants even though it is pushing people away from him and causing him to be isolated. At the end of the play Creon finally realizes that just because he has power does not mean that everyone will love him, and he is left alone.

This helps develop the theme because we can see that both characters are suffering in their own way. Holden is suffering with letting people in and not being able to show emotion. He is gaining knowledge through his own experiences and able to see that the adult world is not so bad after all. Creon had to also learn from his own experiences. Creon’s tragedy is his inability to recognize that anyone else can be right and his failure to acknowledge a higher good than that of the state. He only realizes when it is to late, when his loved ones were no longer with him.

Holden often reaches out to people but sabotages potential relationships by making awkward and odd comments or actions. Holden is terrified to make a connection with someone knowing that the people he love often abandon him: Allie, D. B. , his parents. “Where do the ducks go? ” is a question that he often asks to the taxi driver. This is a symbol of growth and maturity because he can see that not everything will leave forever like Allie. The ducks will come back and so will the people in his life. Holden thinks he wants to find someone to share intimacy with but truly what he needs is a good friend, someone who he can talk.

This person in the novel is his sister the one who he truly cares about Phoebe. She is like a rock for him, even though she is much younger than him she acts as the adult in the relationship. She helps him grow and mature into a young adult. Unlike Holden, Creon is in love with power. He puts his love for his country above the love for his family He’d rather kill Antigone to uphold his law and win the respect (or fear) of people of Thebes than pardon his niece and one of his last living relatives. When he sends Antigone to her death he has an argument with his son Haemon.

Creon is now killing the love of his son’s life for his own love of power. He tries to take back what he has done but it is to late, Antigone, Heamon, and Eurydice are now dead. Creon had cause his own son and wife to die because of his love for power. Love helps develop the theme because we reach out for people and we need them to live normal social lives. Without these life experiences how are we able to mature and grow as a person. You may have to suffer before you can see the growth. “ Of happiness the crown and chiefest part is wisdom, and to hold the Gods in awe.

This is the law that , seeing the stricken heart of pride brought down, we lean when we are old. ” ( Chorus, p 162, text) We can only grow wiser through experience as we can see through both Holden and Creon. With both character’s they have to learn to let people in to have an opinion. That it is ok to stand out, but what will you do with your power? And to love the ones who love you. Without them you will be nothing in the world. Wisdom is gained through suffering and experience because without experience we would never grow as a person. Comparative Essay



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