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novels Jerome David Salinger, born in

Jerome David Salinger, born in New York City on January 1, 1919, may not have written many novels in which he is recognized for.  Although, he did write one novel, which brought him fame.  In many of Salingers short stories and especially his most well-known novel he writes about how the main character falls from his or her own innocence then rises to face their challenges.  In J.D. Salingers , Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield goes through a fall from his innocence throughout his journey to his safe haven, home.

One example of when Holden fell from his own innocence is when he is in the room with Phoebe and he cant name anything he likes. Holden reacts to this question by saying, "Boy, she was depressing me"(Salinger 169).   The only three things he can name that he liked were Allie, James Castle, and sitting there chewing the fat with Phoebe.  The reason this is a time when Holden falls is because he gets really depressed when he can barely think of anything he liked.  The reason I think Holden gets so depressed is because two of the people he names are dead.  Thats why he is so lonely all the time.  Holden finds things in common with Allie and James Castle and since theyre both dead he feels, in the back of his mind,  that he should also be dead which makes him depressed.

Another example of a fall for Holden is when he realizes he cant erase even half the "fuck yous" in the world.  This doesnt sound very important, but it is symbolic because he realizes that he can not be the catcher in the rye.  His dream of shielding all the innocent children from societys harsh elements has been ruined by this one statement.  Now because of this realization he comes to the conclusion that he can not shield everybody, not even half of everybody.  An example of  Holden trying to be the catcher in the rye is when Holden first sees the "fuck you" on the wall.  Holden said,

It drove me damn near crazy.  I thought how Phoebe and all the other kids

would see it, and how theyd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them- all cockeyed, naturally what it meant, and how theyd think about it even worry about it for a couple of days.  I kept wanting to kill whoeverd written it.(Salinger 201)

Holdens final fall comes when he is in the Egyptian Tomb in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  When Holden is deep within the Egyptian Tomb he feels he is in a safe and sanitary place free from societys cruel components until he sees the "fuck you" on the wall.  When he sees this he starts to think about committing suicide because he feels like living is just a waste.   During this time he spent in the tomb he decides on life or death.  After going unconscious for a couple of minutes he decides to live because, "Death thus becomes not a gesture of defiance but of surrender"(Miller 17).  Once Holden wakes up he feels better and symbolically chooses life.  This is when Holden begins to rise.  When Phoebe is on the carousel Holden wants to protect her but restrains himself, "The thing is with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything.  If they fall off, they fall off, but its bad to say anything to them"(Miller 17-18)When Holden says this his dreams of being catcher in the rye vanish.  He realizes that all children must fall, like he himself did.

In conclusion, The Catcher in the Rye is a story of a boy falling from innocence to enter adulthood.  An example of J.D. Salinger using symbolism to show Holdens Holding on to his childhood is in his name, Holden(Hold On).  This is referring to Holden not wanting to enter society and all its phonies.  Today, when somebody holds on to their innocence they are often considered outcasts; and in the persons mind everyone who considers him this, is a phony, like ... more

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Hans Christian Andersen

In the course Y2k and The End of The World, we've studied apocalyptic themes, eschatology, and for some, teleology. Apocalypse, which is to unveil or reveal, eschatology, which is a concept of the end, and teleology, the end or purpose to which we are drawn, are all themes used in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The book is apocalyptic in that it revolves around dystopian ideals. Atwood creates a world in which worst-case scenarios take control and optimistic viewpoints and positive attitudes disappear. It has been said about this book that Atwood's writing echoes numerous motifs and literary devices, such as in Huxley's creation of a drug-calmed society, her characters awaiting execution seem tranquilized by pills or shots.

      Atwood's Book has also been compared to other novels like it, such as Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, and the most obvious, Orwell's 1984. These books have many things in common, including the perversion of science and technology as a major determinant of society's function and control. Like most dystopian novels, The Handmaid's Tale includes the oppression of society, mainly women in this example, the prevention of advancement of thought and intelligence, and an overwhelming sense of government involvement and interference.

      The Apocalyptic themes and situations found in Atwood's fictional city of Gilead focus around the mistreatment of all females. Women in this city, set 200 years in the future, have no rights, and get little respect. The rule by way of theocracy in Gilead also adds to the sense of regression and hopelessness in the future. The way babies are brought into the world, only through pregnant handmaids, the idea of a black market for things considered luxuries and privileges all add to the fact that society in this novel is in a desperate state of disrepair.

      Other Apocalyptic themes found in the book can be compared to sections of the bible, particularly the Old Testament. The Handmaid's Tale has many elements of social decline written into its plot. From the way women are mistreated to the way corruption and evil have infiltrated the government and army, to the way the black market plays a key role in many people's lives causing a majority of society to become criminals makes it clear how social decline plays a key role in the book. There is also a strong sense of moral decline in the book. If a person, regardless of sex, doesn't fit into the tight pattern of role expectation, he or she is eliminated, exiled from Gilead, and left for dead. Also, God plays virtually no part in this soulless, sterile theocracy. The Commander locks away the family bible and the only other worship takes place through a computerized prayer service which people order through the phone. The society of Gilead also attempts to weed out all non-whites, even though it is ultimately unsuccessful, while at the same time, it successfully prevents women from gaining any individual identity.

    As you can see, many apocalyptic themes are present in the novel. Planned pregnancy of surrogate mothers, an oppressive government, and an absence of God all contribute to the themes inherent in the story. Although some have called the novel a warning about the future, others claim it is a forecast, the fact still remains that characters in the book have less respect for the officials in society, less respect for the religions that now run the government, and less respect for themselves making the future into a terrible, terrible place.

    The Handmaid's Tale is set in the futuristic Republic of Gilead. Sometime in the future, conservative Christians take control of the United States and establish a dictatorship. Most women in Gilead are infertile after repeated exposure to pesticides, nuclear waste, or leakage from chemical weapons. The few fertile women are taken to camps and trained to be handmaidens, birth mothers for the upper class. Infertile lower-class women are sent either to clean up toxic waste or to become "Marthas", which are house servants. No women in the Republic are permitted to be openly sexual; sex is for reproduction only. The government declares this a feminist improvement on the sexual politics of today when women are seen as sex objects.

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