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Theme Of The Laughing Man

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In J.D. Salinger’s “The Laughing Man,” the Comanches are innocent children still being protected by their parents and the Chief from the horrors of the real world. The Comanches spend any free time they would have with the Chief so naturally he becomes their hero, by playing this role in their lives he takes on the responsibility to protect their innocence and not let them taste the adult world too soon. However, his priorities shift when Mary Hudson begins to come and be with the Chief while he is with the boys. The Chief begins to crack under the pressure of having to take care of both the boys and Mary, he then only focuses on Mary. She goes above all, the Chief begins to spin out of control with the stories and in real life around the…show more content…
The Comanches have not yet seen an unshielded view of the world being so young and it is definitely avoided by the chief taking them to parks and museums on a daily basis. The Comanches love being around the Chief so much because he seems to have an easy going adult life, they forget he watches them to pay for college, but the Chief never brings up his problems around them. Even though the Chief is just a babysitter he clearly evolves into more than that, the Comanches look up to him, the want to be him as a result he has the responsibility to protect them physically and emotionally. He should know, he is living an unsupervised life and for the first time experiencing the world without anyone to screen through what he does and does not see. The Comanches become so involved with the Laughing Man, a mirror of the Chief, the narrator even says, “I regarded myself not only as [his] direct descendant but as his only legitimate living one” (58). Salinger creates a bond between the Comanches and the Chief that is seamless, there is nothing he could do to upset them, they are not going anywhere as long as he is not. Although not long after Mary Hudson comes along does Chief forget his obligation to protect the Comanches. The Chief starts spinning out of control almost instantly when Mary Hudson comes on the bus for the first time, “He literally flung himself around in his seat, yanked the operating handle of the door” (60). The Chief gets so nervous around
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