Comparative Study of 'Death of a Salesman' and 'The Catcher in the Rye'

1966 Words Oct 26th, 2013 8 Pages
‘The pursuit of individuality and distinctiveness ultimately leads to conformity and deep feelings of failure.’ Good Morning/Afternoon, and welcome to this literary seminar at Hunters Hill High. My name is Obi Williams and I have prepared a speech on the Human Condition, its relevance in Post WW2, and how it is presented through Post WW2 literature.

This time was a period of immense social transformation, as during the war, unemployment had ended and the economy had greatly expanded which meant the end of the war brought with it; higher employment levels among women, a greater search for wealth, and a more every-man-for-himself type of society. This change led to a shifting of values for the majority of the population, a shift where
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At the time, a person was either an adult, or a child, and Holden struggles to identify with either.

Holden digresses to say “I'm seventeen now, and sometimes I act like I'm about thirteen” then contradicts himself by saying “Sometimes I act a lot older than I am”, to reveal that he truly cannot confirm within his own mind where his identity lies. Holden represents the ignition of the ‘adolescent’ identity primarily through the language he uses and ideas that he has. During the novel, Holden says “Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy.” And uses vague expression, swearing, lack of descriptive language and poor sentence structure that were common among the everyday ‘teen’ of the time, and still are today.

Similarly, ‘Death of a Salesman’ depicts the story of a man who is a part of an emerging class, however, in the potent play this man, Willy Loman, belongs to the ‘working’ or ‘middle class’ rather than the ‘teen’ identity. This societal class was born from the American Dream, and became the backbone for the industrialized, successful nation that was growing at the time.

Within this class there were, and still are, two classifications of people; that of the ‘hopeful’ successful & wealthy middle class that are an epitome of the American Dream ideology, and the realistic world that Willy is a part of, unhappy, unsatisfied and covered in debt. Much like Holden, Willy struggles to identify

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