Comparative Analysis of A Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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It is amazing that two completely different characters could not only be faced with an identical dilemma, but also both react in such comparable ways. The resemblance of the characters’ struggles because of alienation in the popular novels The Catcher in the Rye and Speak is astonishing. Alienation can be caused by many factors and result in many consequences. But it is interesting how the situations individuals face can be quite similar. Within Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and Anderson’s novel, Speak, both protagonists are alienated by those around them. As a result, they must endure the negative effects of this isolation and, ultimately it leads both these individuals to alienate themselves.
The alienation experienced by the
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[...] ‘I’m not in the mood right now,’ I said” (Salinger, 43). He makes excuses because of the fact he is too shy and feels incapable of simply saying hello to a girl. Melinda proves her lack of communication skills when she admits, “I try to explain to the librarian, but I keep stuttering and nothing comes out right”. She is unable to get even a simple message across. Because of their lacking social skills, they are both alienated for not being “normal”. This portrays how humanity is less accepting of those who are different; they simply choose to not associate with anyone who is divergent from them.
Being alienated can have a detrimental impact on people. The two protagonists experience negative effects of alienation including psychosis, depression and self-harm. Holden along with Melinda discover they are experiencing a psychotic break. Holden admits his madness within the quote, “I swear to God I’m crazy I admit it”. Equally, Melinda shares her insanity by stating, “I am getting seriously weird in the head”. Both characters’ psychosis is caused by their alienation. They similarly are being pushed towards insanity by the lack of human connection and feeling of belonging. Their insanity then further alienates them by increasing the amount of factors making them dissimilar from society; making this a tragic cycle. Depression is another negative outcome of being isolated. Humans need to feel accepted and included in

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