• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparison of Violence in The Catcher in the Rye with Their Eyes Were Watching God

Extracts from this document...


Joonsoo Kim Comparative Essay Johnson Prompt: In what ways are the two works interested in the portrayal of psychological, physical, or some other kind of violence? Stab with a Tongue, Punch with a Fist: An Analysis in the Use of Violence for Characterization Ever since the days of Abel and Cain, violence has been an engrained part of the human nature. It is humanity?s innate sin and nature, something that cannot be simply forgotten nor ignored. Violence exists not only in the physical sense but also in the mental sense of the mind. However, a less commonly explored variation is violence of the tongue. Words which carry such a nature of hatred and violence serve to not only affect the speaker but also those around him of her. Such is the case with Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Each author portrays the verbal and physical violence for the purpose of characterization of their respective main characters, Holden and Janie. By using both of these forms of violence which not only harmed the body but the mind, both authors serve to create a perfect storms of sort to truly open up what existed in the psyche of Holden and Janie in times of distress and anger. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger portrays the sense of verbal violence as a developmental tool of sorts. While not explicitly a punch, verbal violence serves as importantly as did the many fights that Holden had gotten into throughout the novel. ...read more.


As a result, Holden?s refusal to conform to this ?phony? standard resulted in his loneliness. The physical violence serves merely as a gate to open up Holden?s mind. Through this, the reader can truly grasp the inner workings of Holden?s mind which ultimately serves to redefine his image from the beginning of the novel as a rebellious youth into simply a lonely wanderer in search of a companion. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, verbal violence also holds a key role in defining characters, mostly serving to develop Janie. For the most part, Janie displays a degree of verbal violence towards Joe Starks, her second husband, in some portions of the novel. Throughout her marriage with Joe, Janie is put under tight control and not allowed to freely mingle with the community, making her a self-made outcast of sorts. Joe was jealously protective of Janie and only saw her as an object. However, her marriage with him came to an end when he had fallen ill. Ironically enough, Janie had taken that opportunity to verbally insult him for all he had done towards her and causes Joe to die at that point with Joe cursing Janie as well. Represented here was Joe?s dependence upon Janie as well as Janie?s separation from society. When Joe falls ill, Janie begins to verbally abuse him, and a clear connection is made. In order to stay with Joe, Janie needed to display a degree of peace. ...read more.


Both characters had discovered a revelation of each of their own. Janie had discovered a world that was innately violent while Holden had come to terms with one he already knew was violent and dark. Such a type of closure for the characters allows for them to show the journey they had gone through. From the naïve boy and girl that Holden and Janie were to the adults that they were in the end, it could be safely said that the violence which was so often vilified could also be used as a tool for self-exploration and revelation. Violence in the common term is naturally frowned upon as it implied attacking or harming another. However, as harsh as it is, violence is what makes the world continue to go on. It is a built in part of human nature that cannot be merely ignored. Both authors in the end managed to show such transformation and maturation in a world where it did not seem so. Regardless of whatever opinion one may have, there is no denying that both the characters of Holden and Janie went through changes whether it was for the better or for the worse. However, as with every hero from Odysseus to Janie who goes on an adventure, there is almost always a happy ending. While the new world that both of them see may not be as happy or bright as before, the truth before them may be enough to clear a path that replaces optimism with true beauty and clarity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Free essay

    Comparing Catcher in the Rye and the Bell Jar

    This stressful decision worsens her madness. The bell jar that Esther mentions many times in the book is a form of isolation from society and in that is her madness which distorts her perspective and prevents her from acting normally.

  2. During the entire novel of The Sorrow of War Kien is on a quest ...

    There would be neither hesitation nor the hassle to respect them before they die, by giving them a cigarette, if he was totally a cold hearted. Furthermore, I think sympathy is shown by Kien, "they asked permission to wash and have a last cigarette.

  1. Catcher in the Rye Oral presentation

    He feels a need to save all children from the corruption and immorality that is found within society and tries to do this by protecting children from falling out of innocence into the knowledge of the adult world. Which is metaphorically the cliff.

  2. The Scarlett Letter and Their Eyes Were Watching God compare and contrast

    and as Hester enjoys this moment, she summons pearl but pearl does not recognize her mother and Hester is forced to "gather up the heavy tresses of her hair, and confine[d] them beneath her cap" (Hawthorne 135). Hester attempts to escape the oppression put upon her by removing her cap

  1. Theme of violence and hatred in Romeo and Juliet

    Although it is masked, Tybalt, Capulet's nephew recognises Romeo: Now by the stock and honour of our kin To strike him dead I hold it not a sin. Tybalt is hot-headed and easily moved to violence. He regards the intrusion as an insult to his family and seeks instant revenge in front of all the guests.

  2. Minor Characters in "The Catcher in the Rye".

    She is willing to go through with his initial plan and the contrast between her and Holden gives the reader a good idea of what Holden thinks he wants and what he really is. ??Don?t you feel like talking for a while?? I asked her.

  1. Moods, colors and people of the deep blue sea are portrayed in The Sound ...

    ?Who are you,and who has given you this clothing?Did you not say you wandered here by sea??(l.255,b.VII) 132. ?Rolling me over in the winedark sea.?(l.269,b.VII) 133. ?So that she now commanded me to sail, sending me out to sea on a craft i made with timber and tools of hers.?(l.282,b.VII)

  2. Analysis of "Hurricane hits England" by Grace Nichols

    Besides, in the next verse, ?their crusted roots?, could represent herself, Grace Nichols, who was uprooted from her home country, the Caribbean, to England, like a tree falling and getting uprooted. The only stanza that is made out of only one verse, is the sixth one, this could symbolise a change in the way the author thinks.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work