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Catcher In The Rye And The Great Gatsby Analysis

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How are Holden Caulfield and Jay Gatsby characterized as existential heroes and used to emphasize the motif of isolation in novels The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby?

1. Intro/ background

Highlighting the luscious American lifestyle, these novels both take place in New York City. The Great Gatsby during the roaring 20’s and The Catcher in the Rye during post World War II era. Both of these time frames in this vast city boasted a prosperous, thriving culture and was the embodiment of the American Dream itself. These novels, however, show us a different side of America, the isolation, and the utter meaningless of life, the same from one path to another. This absurdity is depicted from two vastly opposite point of views. Fitzgerald and Salinger each portray their protagonist as an existential hero to emphasize the isolation and fragmented state of the rich culture and American society beneath the surface. Fitzgerald depicts Gatsby as a likable and more idealistic character and a hopeless romantic pursuing Daisy even though; she has already picked Tom over him. While we do not see the inner thoughts and emotions from Gatsby as often as with Holden, due to Nick being the narrator, the center of the fragmented society and the novel is, without doubt, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby also is surrounded by people yet immersed in isolation, all his party guests are either not invited at all or merely acquaintances. Just as is his fake life he created for himself as, despite all his
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