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Both Wuthering Heights and Catcher in the Rye use very distinctive and individual characters to narrate the stories. What are the characteristics of these narrative voices, and what do they contribute to the novels?

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Introduction

Both Wuthering Heights and Catcher in the Rye use very distinctive and individual characters to narrate the stories. What are the characteristics of these narrative voices, and what do they contribute to the novels? Emily Bront� wrote Wuthering Heights, and was born on July 30th, 1818, and was the fifth child to her mother and father. Her older sisters Maria and Elizabeth both died of tuberculosis in 1825, which was the disease Emily herself also died of, many years later. Frequently, Emily was encouraged to work, or learn away from home, but on all occasions she became ill, and was forced to return home. The exact dates during which Wuthering Heights was written is unknown although it was supposedly written during 1845 - 1846. The Bront� sisters originally had to have their published names changed to male names so the public would buy their books. Women writers were unheard of at this stage in time. Here is a short summary of the story of Wuthering Heights. The story is told by Mr. Lockwood who is the owner of Thrushcross Grange, a house in the same area as Wuthering Heights. He learns more about the two families as his stay progresses. The present housekeeper of Wuthering Heights tells him the story: A man names Earnshaw who live in Wuthering Heights went from his house to Liverpool on a business trip. When he was there he saw a boy who he took home and named Heathcliff. His older son, Hindley disliked Heathcliff and bullied him. Cathy, Earnshaw's young daughter became friends with Heathcliff. Years later, Earnshaw died. Now that Hindley had inherited Wuthering heights, he made Heathcliff a servant. One day, out on the moors, Heathcliff and Cathy saw a house belonging to the Lintons and disliked the way the Linton children were spoiled. The Linton children called for help. Heathcliff and Cathy ran away, but were caught, and Heathcliff was thrown out, whilst Cathy, once she had been found out to be Miss. ...read more.

Middle

He becomes delirious and thinks he will fall unconscious at crossing streets. He meets Phoebe and takes her to the zoo and watches her ride on the carousel, at which point he begins to cry. Holden's story ends here, and next takes the reader to present day, where he is telling the reader that he became sick, and how he misses everyone, even the phoneys. The narrative voice in Catcher in the Rye is well known for being of a very informal nature, hence its popularity. The particular style of writing used by Salinger is essential to The Catcher in the Rye. The book is told totally from Holden's point of view. Holden Caulfield himself is a boy of about sixteen who is supposedly currently in psychiatric care of some sort. He is describing what happened to him the last Christmas he had, before he became 'ill'. The narrative voice of Holden uses slang words frequently, often swearing in the way a typical teenager does. For example, when he is talking about the football game near the beginning of the novel, he says: "... I was standing way the hell on top of Thomsen Hill, right next to this crazy cannon... you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place. You couldn't see the grandstand too hot, but you could hear them all yelling, deep and terrific on the Pencey side... scrawny and faggy on the Saxon Hall side..." When Holden says, "crazy," "bashing each other all over the place," "hot," and "faggy," he is using slang terms. In correct English he would have said, "interesting," "fighting," "well," and "dislikeable," respectively. He also says, "hell," which is a swear word when used in this context. Another example of Holden's language is when he is talking about his grandmother: "I have this grandmother that's really lavish with her dough. She doesn't have all her marbles any more - she's old as hell - and she keeps sending me money for my birthday about four times a year. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr.Lockwood and the Linton family. This is an insight into how people like Emily Bront� viewed others in her surroundings. I have also learned that even though the two books were written more than one hundred years apart, they still convey the hate people have for each other, and the way in which this is dealt with. They convey the envy people had, they convey the worries people had to deal with, be it in the 19th or 20th century. I personally found it far easier to read about Holden Caulfield and his experiences in Catcher in the Rye than I did to read about the family goings on in Wuthering Heights, but I think this is down to the fact that Wuthering Heights was written almost one hundred and fifty years ago and I find it difficult to relate to the language used then. I can relate to some of the events, and can imagine what my feelings would be, and agree with some of the people's feelings in Wuthering Heights, but I found it far easier to read Catcher in the Rye than Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights took me a long time to read, and I felt myself becoming 'bogged down' in it a few times. The Catcher in the Rye was an extremely enjoyable book to me and only took me two days to read, and at risk of sounding tacky ' I couldn't put it down'. There were so many events in The Catcher in the Rye that I could relate to, and so many phrases I say myself that the book took me into it and its events. The narrative voice was the thing that drew me to the book most of all, since it was so chatty and like a train of thought, with no-one to put the ideas down, or anyone to offend. Had I not compared the two books, I would not have had such an insight into the narratives of the two novels, and would definitely not have understood as much of the psychological tendencies of the two books as I do now. ...read more.

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