English, Analytical Essay, Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn

1513 Words May 30th, 2013 7 Pages
Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye essay

The novels ‘The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ are both set in times where the expectations of society differed from the ones of today. Huckleberry Finn is set in the late 1800s, pre USA civil war and in a time where slavery was an accepted occurrence and the escape of a slave was seen as legally and morally wrong. This was also a time in which church attendance and education were seen as tokens of respectability. A young boy, the eponymous character, Huck, seeks to reject all that he regards as oppressive and cruel in order to establish an alternative life as a wanderer, far from adult control. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, on the other hand, was set in the late
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Holden on the other hand, assumes the alternative identity in order to befriend people he meets on his journey without the people realising that he should still be at school.
Various audiences of the two novels would interpret and receive the occurrences in the extracts very differently. For example, the audience of Huckleberry Finn would be shocked at Huck escaping, living with a slave and then dressing as a girl. This is because the changes in society since Huckleberry Finn was written are significant. In the late 1800s, young boys were to be well educated and then sent off to be a successful businessman, not to escape and run amok. Slaves were also seen as inferior and a possession and anybody helping them was breaking the law. Another thing that the different audiences would feel differently about is the fact that Jim gets called a ‘nigger’ quite often. An audience of the 1880s would accept that as normal as they were used to hearing it, whereas an audience of the 2000s would be shocked by this, as the word nigger has a very malicious meaning nowadays and is considered a racist insult due to the equality rights now instilled in the majority of society, due to the word undergoing perjoration. The audience of Catcher in the Rye would probably not be surprised at the behaviour that Holden employs, as teenagers in the late 1940s were gaining a new sense of freedom and the dangers of letting your children out into

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