Huckleberry Finn: Holden Caulfield?

| | Comments (3)
EL 266

"You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter"


Yes, these are the words of Huckleberry Finn not of Holden Caulfield, but they sound so much alike! When I began reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I was struck by how similar the two are!

I had read both Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in high school, but never made the connection. In fact I am sure that I may not have made the connection now, except for the fact that I read Catcher in the Rye last semester during Young Adult Literature.

In truth, both characters have a lot of similarities. Both are dissatisfied with their current lives and embark on a journey. While Holden only goes to New York City, Huckleberry Finn finds himself rafting down the Mississippi. Along the way both encounter obstacles and must overcome them, taking away personal significance from these experiences. They really do parallel each other, and even the attitude seems to be the same. Holden and Tom Sawyer have the same, "tough guy" type of speech. They are a very angst(y), young type of protagonist.

3 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

I so love Catcher in the Rye. I can see the similarities between the two as well. They both have a vivid imagination to.

Jessica Apitsch said:

I guess Foster is helping us out make those connections haha. First of all, I loved The Catcher in the Rye, so I definitely appreciate the connection you make and I would agree with it as well so far. One of the main reasons I enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye was because it was from a male's perspective, as the same goes for Huckleberry Finn. Both of the main characters are also the narrator's, which allows the reader to really get to know all the depths of the two boys. Being a female, I find reading these two books pretty interesting and insightful.

Dave said:

Well, now I'm kind of embarrased I didn't make that connection, as I was in that Young Adult Lit Class, too. (and to be honest my copy of Catcher in the Rye was within sight as I was reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). That said, the plots of the stories are similar, (I kind of assume you mean Huck Finn and not Tom Sawyer), and they both lie a lot, and want, through their journeys, to escape responsibility. They are also very different characters in that Huck is pretty much always content, while Holden is usually whining. (A bit ironic since Huck tends to be facing far more danger and hardship). Under the assumption that Salinger was thinking Clemens when he wrote, Holden's character could have been offering some sort of contrast with modern society, suggesting that the lack of real struggle leads to the manufacture of it, out of necessity.

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