Comparison Essay Between Catcher in the Rye and Death of a Salesman

1241 Words Sep 27th, 2008 5 Pages
Pressures In Human Society

A common idea presented in literature is the issue of the freedom of the individual in the constant pressures of society. In the play “Death of a Salesman” by,
Arthur Miller, Willy Loman is a good example of this, as well as a sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfield in the novel “The Catcher in the Rye” by, J.D Salinger. They are both men living in a controlling society, and feel it is too hard to keep up with all of the expectations. Holden is always looking at the world in a negative way, pointing out the negativity in everyone, and everything around him. Willy on the other hand is an old man with two children, who is constantly pressuring his son Biff Loman to
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Willy Loman and Holden Caulfield are similar in a lot of ways. They are both men living in a materialistic society, whose lives are depending completely on success. Holden has to be successful at his private schools, or he will be in trouble with his parents, and Willy has to be successful with work and money or he will be in trouble with himself and his own societal issues. “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” (Salinger, page 8, 1945). Willy and Holden are just constantly living their lives revolving around these rules, whether they are avoiding them like Holden or following them closely, like Willy. Their backgrounds are actually not all that different either, Holden and Willy both have been abandoned by their parents. Willy’s father left when he was young to go sell flutes in Alaska, and Holden’s parents although at home, keep sending Holden far away to boarding schools. Holden and Willy both have troubles communicating their true feelings with others; they do not feel a trust with anyone but themselves.

Holden and Willy are different in many ways as well. Starting with age, Willy is a grown man considerably older then Holden, which means he has had a lot more to deal with over his whole life span then Holden has. There are also very different situations of why society is putting so much

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