Salinger Vs. Guest

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Often times teenagers have a hard time identifying with and relating to their parents, so they turn to their friends and siblings. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, and the movie Ordinary People based on the novel by Judith Guest, the main characters, Holden and Conrad face similar situations. They are distant in their interaction with their parents, but confide in their siblings and certain friends. Both characters identify more with and feel more confident around the people closer to their own age and level.

Conrad Jarrett and Holden Caulfield have very close relationships with their siblings. Conrad and his deceased brother, Buck, were very close. "The three of us were best friends," says one of Conrad's friends during a very confrontational scene. Holden also has a very tight bond with his sister, Phoebe, as well as hid deceased brother Allie. "She wouldn't have cared if I'd woke her up."

Phoebe adores Holden and will forgive him anything. Holden feels the same way about Phoebe. "He was also the nicest"¦ he never got mad at anyone. People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily, but Allie never did." As Holden goes on to describe his brother, the reader gets a sense of the love that Holden had, and still has for Allie. Both Holden and Conrad have a great appreciation and affection for their siblings.

In contrast to their relationships with their siblings, are their relationships with their parents. Neither Holden, nor Conrad is close to his parents. "Now's the best time," he tell Phoebe as he is trying to escape from his parents' house. He is willing to do anything to hold off his parents finding out about him getting expelled from school. He doesn't feel that he can...