Catcher In The Rye
The forthcoming of American literature proposes two distinct Realistic
novels portraying characters which are tested with a plethora of adventures.
In this essay, two great American novels are compared: The Adventures of
Huck Finn by Mark Twain and The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. The
Adventures of Huck Finn is a novel based on the adventures of a boy named
Huck Finn, who along with a slave, Jim, make their way along the
Mississippi River during the Nineteenth Century. The Catcher In The Rye is
a novel about a young man called Holden Caulfield, who travels from Pencey
Prep to New York City struggling with his own neurotic problems. These two
novels can be compared using the Cosmogonic Cycle with both literal and
The Cosmogonic Cycle is a name for a universal and archetypal situation.
There are six parts that make up the cycle: the call to adventure, the
threshold crossing, the road of trials, the supreme test, a flight or a
flee, and finally a return. There are more parts they do not necessarily
fall into the same order, examples of these are symbolic death and motifs.
The Cosmogonic Cycle is an interesting way to interpret literature because
is Universal or correlates with any time period and any situation.
The Call to Adventure is the first of the Cosmogonic Cycle. It is the
actual call to adventure that one receives to begin the cycle. There are
many ways that this is found in literature including going by desire, by
chance, by abduction, and by being lured by an outside force. In The
Adventures of Huck Finn, Huck is forced with the dilemma of whether to stay
with his father and continue to be abused or to leave. Huck goes because
he desires to begin his journey. In The Catcher In The Rye, Holden
mentally is torn between experience and innocence, it would seem to him
that an outside force is luring him to do something but in actuality he is
beginning his journey because of his desire. The Call to Adventure is the
first step in the Cosmogonic Cycle, it is the step at which the character
or hero is brought into cycle.
The Threshold Crossing is the second step, it is the place or the
person that which the character crosses over or through into the Zone
Unknown. The Zone Unknown being the place where the journey takes place.
The threshold crossing is often associated with a character change or an
appearance change. An example of this is in The Wizard of Oz, when the
movie goes from black and white to color, showing a visual symbolic death.
A symbolic death is another part to the Cosmogonic Cycle of which the
character goes through a change and emerges a more complete person or more
experienced. In The Adventures of Huck Finn, a symbolic death is very
apparent during the scene in which Huck sets up his father's cabin to look
like Huck was brutally murder. Huck emerges as a runway child and now must
be careful of what he does, so that he does not get caught. Huck also
tells people false aliases for himself so that no one knows his true
identity. Every time that he does this he is symbolically dying and
reemerges a more experienced person. In The Catcher In The Rye, Holden
also uses fake names, but Holden symbolically dies through fainting,
changing the position of his red hunting hat, and is associated with
bathrooms. The bathroom motif, or the reoccurring appearance of a bathroom,
symbolizes death for Holden because he enters bathrooms with a neurotic and
pragmatic frame of mind and exits with a cleared mind. The use of symbolic
death and motifs is associated with the Threshold Crossing, the second step
of the Cosmogonic Cycle.
The Road of Trials is the next step in the Cosmogonic Cycle, which are
the obstacles which the character faces throughout the literary work. In
The Adventures of Huck Finn, Huck's Road of Trials occurs on the
Mississippi River. He faces many obstacles, including moral decisions of
right and wrong, dealing with con-artists, and helping a runaway slave. He
promulgates more experienced from his journey down the river on his raft.
In The Catcher In The Rye, Holden's Road of Trials takes from Pencey Prep
to New York City. Holden deals with his own mental hallucinations,
cognative disotience, and his desire to stay innocence, his Peter Pan
complex. The author does not end the novel with a happy ending, from
analyzing Holden's experiences