Catcher In the Rye vs. Grapes of Wrath Essay

1787 Words Oct 20th, 2013 8 Pages
Inherent Corruption in Society The inherent aversion to corruption in society often inspires individuals to respond to the issue in hopes of minimizing the drastic effects it may have on people. This shared disdain for such corruption is analyzed in The Catcher in the Rye and The Grapes of Wrath. Both authors address the corruption; however they do so from different perspectives they come to differing resolutions. Both protagonists in their novels experience isolation as a result of society’s corruption; however, Salinger’s chooses to isolate himself whereas Steinbeck’s experiences isolation inadvertently. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath share a social commentary about how corruption …show more content…
Such harsh condemnation due to a place of origination reveals how society’s corruption has lead to the inadvertent alienation Tom receives throughout the novel. Though Holden Caulfield’s isolation from others is deliberate, and Tom Joad is involuntarily segregated, isolation as a result of society’s corruption plays a significant role in both novels. Salinger and Steinbeck also use different motifs to illustrate society’s corruption and its effect on people. In The Catcher in the Rye Salinger uses the motif of the preservation of innocence to clarify the gravity of society’s corruption. Holden loses his innocence as a child when his brother Allie dies. Although he cannot come to terms with his brother’s death, Holden is confident that he can find solace by saving the other innocent children from the corrupt society they live in. Holden tells his younger sister Phoebe, his main inspiration for preserving innocence, that “[he has] to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff…. [He will] just be the catcher in the rye and all. [He knows] it’s crazy but that’s the only thing [he’d] really like to be” (173). Holden’s only ambition in life is to rescue children from falling into society’s corruption. He is so infatuated with this notion that he even refuses to sleep with a prostitute that he has paid for. As the prostitute is waiting to do what she is getting paid for, Holden realizes how young