Salinger Vs. Guest Essay

618 words - 3 pages

Often times teenagers have a hard time identifying with and relating to their parents, so they turn to their friends and siblings. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, and the movie Ordinary People based on the novel by Judith Guest, the main characters, Holden and Conrad face similar situations. They are distant in their interaction with their parents, but confide in their siblings and certain friends. Both characters identify more with and feel more confident around the people closer to their own age and level. Conrad Jarrett and Holden Caulfield have very close relationships with their siblings. Conrad and his deceased brother, Buck, were very close. "The three of us were best friends," says one of Conrad's friends during a very confrontational scene. Holden also has a very ...view middle of the document...

In contrast to their relationships with their siblings, are their relationships with their parents. Neither Holden, nor Conrad is close to his parents. "Now's the best time," he tell Phoebe as he is trying to escape from his parents' house. He is willing to do anything to hold off his parents finding out about him getting expelled from school. He doesn't feel that he can confide in his parents like he does in Phoebe. The same situation arises in Conrad's life. Beth, Conrad's mother, feels the need to put distance between herself and Conrad. "Cal, give me the camera" she insists as Cal, Conrad's father, tries to take a picture of her and Conrad. She cannot stand being near him, even for a second. Consequently, her actions result in Conrad's estrangement from his parents. "I've never really talked about it [Buck's death]"¦you're the first person who has asked" he confides to his psychiatrist. He can't even discuss that with his parents. Conrad and Holden feel as if their parents wouldn't understand their problems, and thus, they turn to their friends for comfort. Since Conrad and Holden cannot confide in their parents, they look to their friends for support. Both characters have one friend with whom they are close. Holden's friend is Jane. He is honest with her. "She was great to hold hands with"¦with her"¦all you knew was, you were happy." He feels very comfortable and calm when he is around her. After Conrad gets into a fight with one of the swimmers his friend calms him down. "You can't take anything he says seriously," he tells him about the swimmer. He acts as Conrad's pacifier. J.D. Salinger and Judith Guest's works are very similar in terms of character development and relationships. Consequently, the main characters, Holden and Conrad, have very similar relationships with the people around them.

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