The Width Of Women's Issues In English Literature

439 words - 2 pages

Exerpt from Critical Children: The Use of Childhood in Ten Great Novels by Richard Locke(Essay, 2011)The David Copperfield reference is loaded. Like many adolescents, Holden often makes a show of dismissing what's most important to him; in fact, he's similar to David Copperfield in his sensitivity, rebelliousness, miserable family and school life, and moral concern. Dickens's book-like this one-is a first-person inquiry into the narrator's psychological and moral status: it's the autobiography of a writer ...view middle of the document...

Holden has a similar goal: he must grapple with the tale of "this madman stuff that happened to me." But Holden is speaking, not writing. His vantage point is only a few months after these events, not thirty years, and as a narrator he's also twenty years younger than David-not yet the famous writer he may or may not become, though he certainly displays in abundance a novelist's eye and ear.While Holden's Christian name suggests, of course, the power to "hold on" (to people and the past and life itself), his surname intensifies the connection to Dickens. David Copperfield was born with a caul, a fetal membrane thought to be a good omen, a sign that he would see ghosts and spirits and be magically preserved from death by drowning (which is visited upon others in the book). "Caulfield" suggests not only David's caul and its signaling magic powers of sight and survival and good luck (the pun on "call" conveys personal vocal urgency and a sense of mission, a "calling) but also the "field" of rye in which Holden imagines imperiled children must be "caught" and saved from falling over a cliff into deadly adult life of time and change.

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