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The Tortured Road Of Adolescence: A Comparison Of "The Catcher In The Rye" And "Rule Of The Bone"

1483 words - 6 pages

The Tortured Road of AdolescencePatrick RoyleCentral to J.D Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" and Russell Banks "Rule of the Bone" is the theme of change. Both male protagonists - Holden Caulfield and Chappie Dorset - transform, while traversing the tortured path from adolescence to adulthood. Both young men have similar characteristics; and seemingly parallel lives. Both authors portrayal of adolescence follows a pattern: a deep-set urge to protect innocence, providing an image of courage, callousness and compassion that defines the transition to adulthood.While reading Rule of the Bone, certain themes and symbols were revealed, consistent in both books. Both protagonists hold within them ...view middle of the document...

Much like a baby, Holden reacts badly to change, and prefers to keep his surroundings stable. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (pg. 122). Chappie, the protagonist in the other work of fiction also attempts to preserve innocence, but not as obsessively as his equivalent.They were the only three people I'd chosen on my own to love, and they were gone. But still, that morning in Mobay when I saw Russ for the last time, I saw clearly for the first time that loving Sister Rose and I-Man and even Bruce had left me with riches that I could draw on for the rest of my life, and I was totally grateful to them. (pg. 384)In Rule of the Bone, Chappie- later adopting the label of "Bone" attempts to save Froggie, a 7 year old girl pimped by Buster, a drug dealer and child porn artist. At 7 years old, Froggie has lost all form of innocence, taken away by Buster, who kept her in submission with drugs. After saving Froggie, whose name is revealed to be Rose, Chappie attempts to better her quality of life. Chappie's ongoing struggle to save Froggie carried on through the story, as he displayed his compassion even after Froggie disappeared from the tale.Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself . People change. They think they don't, but they really do. We may notice the changes to ourselves, our surroundings, to other people. Our surroundings cause us to change, as do issues and hurdles we pass through in our lives. Although the change from adolescence to adulthood is a long and arduous journey, we change nevertheless. Much like in our lives, various issues and hurdles the characters face trigger the change we see through the book. Holden is a sixteen-year-old junior who has just been expelled for academic failure from a school called Pencey Prep. His first step in change is leaving the school, where he had resided for so long. Although the story The Catcher in the Rye takes place over a short time span of a weekend, a significant change is still evident. Leaving school, Holden is given a newfound sense of freedom, and liberty. This false sense of independence changed Holden, as he seemed to mature slightly; as a result of the change in setting. Traveling to New York, Holden was surprised to find himself acting not as a young adolescent, but rather a young adult, living in a Hotel, frequenting the hotel bars, and nightclubs. This sense of independence causes him to become cocky, thus making mistakes. Chappie, the protagonist in Rule of the Bone underwent a similar experience; leaving an abusive stepfather and unloving mother. Chappie, like Holden left in order to gain his freedom, which he welcomed with open arms. Living with a group of drug dealing bikers, Chappie changes to become a hardened street thug; changing his look with black leather, a Mohawk, and earrings....

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