Both Wuthering Heights and Catcher in the Rye use very distinctive and individual characters to narrate the stories Essay
Emily Bronti?? 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 Bronti?? 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. Earnshaw, was kept in ‘The Grange’ (the Linton home).
She stayed at the grange, and came back to Wuthering heights as a young proper lady, much to Heathcliff’s dislike. Hindley’s wife died after childbirth to a son named Hareton, and Hindley became an alcoholic and the house fell to ruin. One of the Linton children, Edgar, fell in love with Cathy, and she became engaged with him, although her love for Heathcliff was greater. Edgar and Cathy were married when she was 18 or 19. For a year or more, there was no sign of Heathcliff, but then he returned. Heathcliff stayed at Wuthering Heights, and gained the ownership of the house by paying off Hindley’s gambling debts.
Heathcliff left the grange and eloped with Isabella, Edgar’s sister, to get revenge on Edgar. A little later, Heathcliff saw Cathy while Edgar was at church. Cathy died that night after giving birth to her daughter. Hindley tried to murder Heathcliff, but was nearly killed in the process, Isabella ran away to London, and gave birth to a son, Linton. Hindley died a few months after Cathy. Cathy’s daughter, also named Catherine, lived at the grange, and was unaware of Wuthering heights. Isabella died when Linton was about 12, and Edgar went to fetch him from London, to be a playmate to Catherine.
The same day, Heathcliff sent Joseph, a servant to fetch Linton from the grange and when Catherine woke, her cousin was gone. On Cathy’s 16th birthday, Nelly and her strayed onto Wuthering heights land, and Heathcliff invited them in to see Linton. Heathcliff wanted romance to form between the two cousins, so as to ensure the ownership of the grange once Edgar died. Linton became ill, and Heathcliff feared Linton would die before Edgar, so he kidnapped Nelly and Cathy and told her she could not return to the grange before he married Linton. Cathy married Linton.
Heathcliff called Cathy to Wuthering heights, to free up the grange to rent it out, to Mr. Lockwood in fact. Catherine took care of Linton, until he died, and then taught Hareton (who was in love with her) to read. This is about the time Lockwood came to Wuthering heights, and when he left, and did not return for a few months, he found out that while he was gone Heathcliff had gone almost mad with the ghost of Cathy who haunted him in his dreams. When the novel ends, Cathy and Hareton are planning to marry and move to the grange. Wuthering Heights has many narrative voices.
The main ones are: 1. Mr. Lockwood – upper class, literate. 2. Nelly Dean – Informal and chatty. 3. Isabella’s letter – relatively formal, yet friendly towards Nelly. 4. Heathcliff – very dramatic and savage, passionate. 5. Cathy – similar to Heathcliff, though more like she is copying him. 6. Joseph – very local, and difficult to understand in parts. Mr. Lockwood’s style of speech is very upper class and formal. He constantly sounds as if he is writing a formal letter, not as if he is simply speaking, even when he narrates over his own speech to Heathcliff, and Nelly, etc.
This kind of speech portrays not only intelligence, but sometimes ostentatious-ness and pomposity. Although he undoubtedly does not realise this in his own speech, this occasionally makes him sound almost sarcastic, in the names he calls people, behind their backs. i. e. ‘ the solitary neighbour I shall be troubled with’ – Heathcliff, ‘the beneficent fairy’ – Cathy, and even worse ‘ my human fixture and her satellites’ – Nelly Dean and her servants. For use of a better word, Mr. Lockwood could easily be described nowadays as a ‘prize pratt’.
He is often rude to the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights and openly ridicules them. Nelly Dean’s style of speech is very informal, and far easier to understand than Mr. Lockwood’s. She uses fewer adjectives, being less well educated, and tells the story quickly and efficiently. In some parts of the book, countless pages can be written about one thing, only to move on right afterwards, and have the topic never mentioned again. This, although very romanticised, is a very long-winded way to get a point across. Nelly, is one of the most easily read narrators in the book.
She occasionally says long descriptive passages, very romantic and conjures imagery of the surrounding moorlands, and the passion surrounding it. Sometimes, Nelly does state quite complicated passages, unlike her country background provides for her: “He replied audibly enough, in a fashion that made my companion vociferate more clamorously than before that a wide distinction might have drawn between saints like himself, and sinners like his master. ” Isabella’s letter to Nelly is written as though Nelly is an underling to Isabella, yet based on friendly terms. The language she uses is factual, yet romantic.
She begins with a very factual passage, of how she has come back and is living in ‘the heights’ as she calls them, and then goes on to say how she is missing Edgar, her brother in a very romanticised way: “Inform Edgar that I’d give the world to see his face again – that my heart returned to Thrushcross Grange in twenty-four hours after I left it, and is there at this moment, full of warm feelings for him, and Catherine! ” She talks very femininely about her heart and how it is yearning to be with them, very romantically, and passionately. Then when she goes on to talk about Heathcliff, she talks as if she no longer knows him, saying, “Is Mr.
Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? ” Her voice gives across the impression of an educated, yet still chatty sounding girl, obviously brought up well, and with social skills as well. Although Cathy and Heathcliff do not strictly ‘narrate’ the story, the speech they use adds to the feeling of the book itself, so I have chosen to include this too. Cathy’s language is similar to that of Heathcliff. During their childhoods, they spent a lot of time together, so this is really not surprising. Of all the narrators in the book, these two show the most compassionate and dramatic kind of language.
Although contemptuous, they show romantic traits in their speech. This kind of language is shown by Heathcliff in chapter six when he goes to Thrushcross Grange with Cathy, and then tells Nelly of the day he had with Cathy and their seeing the Linton children, Isabella and Edgar. The language he uses is childish and entertaining, with no regard to who he insults, much like the kind of language he uses later on in life. Cathy has the same childish language as Heathcliff, as you can see from chapter nine, when she speaks to Nelly about Edgar. Cathy is more cheerful than Heathcliff nearer to the start of the book, until she marries Edgar.
The daughter of Cathy; Catherine, has a strong and spiteful character from an early age, as Mr. Lockwood talks about near the beginning of the book. It is not until she tries to educate Hareton that her heart ‘warms’ and she begins to talk in a more pleasant manner. Joseph is another character in the book who doesn’t narrate, but talks frequently, in a noticeable manner, enough for me to warrant to speak about him. Joseph, with his odd ‘dialect’ speaks almost incomprehensibly throughout the book, and makes the reader listen to the language in their head, as it is written phonetically, in the local accent of Joseph; Whet are ye for! ” he shouted. “T’maister’s dahn I’ t’ fowld. Goa rahnd by th’ end ut’ laith, if yah went to spake tull him. ” And; “Aw woonder hagh yah can faishion tuh stand thear i’ idleness un war, when all on’ em’s goan acht! Bud yah’re a nowt, and it’s now use talking – yah’ll niver mend uh yer ill ways, bud goa raight tuh t’devil, like yer mother afore ye! ” I challenge anyone to say that all and understand it at the same time.
My translation of these passages are as follows: “What are you here for!? ” he shouted, “The master’s down in the fold. Go round by the end of the lane, if you want to speak to him. ” And, I wonder how you can fashion to stand there in idleness and war, when all of them have gone out! But you’re a nothing, and its no use talking – you’ll never mend your ill ways, but go right to the devil, like your mother before you! ” (Or something of that nature! ) Jerome David Salinger is the author of Catcher in the Rye. Jerome was born in Manhattan, in New York City in 1919. Unlike any of the Bronti?? sisters, Salinger was encouraged to write openly, and a lot of his work was originally published in local newspapers, before he published his own books. He had a sister who eight years older than him, called Doris, and no brothers.
Salinger wrote catcher in the rye in the 1930’s, before the Second World War. The main character of Catcher in the Rye is Holden Caulfield, who tells the story. At the start of the book he is in a mental institution of some sorts, and is telling the reader about the few months of the Christmas beforehand and how he became ill. At the beginning of his story, he is in Pencey Prep School, and has failed four out of his five classes, and thus has been asked to leave. Not wanting to have to tell his parents, and having realised that the letter telling them of his expulsion wouldn’t arrive for about a week more, he decides to not tell them yet.
Holden goes to watch the game at his school, and then visits one of his teachers before he leaves in a few days time. He then returns to his dormitory and joins his roommate, Stradlater, who he calls phoney. Robert Ackley is also there. Stradlater asks Holden to do a piece of work for him, and then leaves to go on a date with an old friend of Holden’s, called Jane Gallagher. Holden gets angry about Stradlater going on a date with a friend of his, because he knows what Stradlater is like when he goes on dates.
Holden writes the piece of work for Stradlater, but when he returns from his date, he is angry because he thinks the work Holden has done is not good enough. Holden then tears up the paper, and Stradlater gets angrier. Holden asks how the date was, and Stradlater indicates that he may have slept with Jane, and Holden is furious. He tries to punch Stradlater, but ends up getting knocked out, due to Stradlater’s huge size. Holden then decides to leave Pencey that night and not wait until Wednesday. He leaves Pencey and gets the train out to New York, but doesn’t know where to go once he gets there.
He goes to stay at a nearby hotel. He goes down to the Lavender Room (the hotel bar) and dances with a girl and her friends. He then goes on to Ernie’s (a bar), but leaves soon after arriving, having seen a girl he once knew and having no wish to see her again. Once he arrives back at the hotel, he gets the elevator up to his room, and the elevator monitor offers him the services of a prostitute. He then goes back to his room, but when the prostitute arrives he becomes too nervous and refuses. She demands ten dollars, but he gives her five, saying, rightly, that he only owes her five, as the elevator monitor said.
The girl leaves, but then the elevator monitor and the girl return and steal the money from Holden’s wallet. He also gets punched in the stomach. The next day, Holden calls a friend called Carl Luce and asks to meet him in a bar, but once they meet, Luce becomes angry at Holden and leaves. Holden stays at the bar and gets drunk, and then wanders around central park. Holden feel ill and thinks he’s dying, so returns home to see his little sister. When he gets home, his parents are out so he wakes up his little sister, but she becomes upset when he tells her about his leaving Pencey.
He tells Phoebe that he would like to be “a catcher in the rye,” and he imagines himself standing at the edge of a cliff as children play around him. He would catch them before they ran too close to the cliff. His parents arrive home, and he leaves soon afterwards to see an old teacher called Mr. Antolini who tells him that he is headed for a serious fall. Holden falls asleep on the sofa and wakes a little later to find Mr. Antolini with his hand on Holden’s head. Holden thinks this is a homosexual advance, and becomes agitated and leaves.
He spends the night at Grand Central Station, and sends a note to Phoebe’s school the next day saying to meet him for lunch. 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… ou 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. Anyway, even though I was pretty loaded, I figured I could always use a few extra bucks. ” Holden uses slang words like “dough,” “marbles,” “loaded,” and “bucks. ” If this were proper English, it would have been: My grandmother is lavish with her money. She is senile because she is elderly. She sends me birthday money approximately four times a year. Even though I was wealthy, I decided that some additional money would be useful.
Had J. D. Salinger used the second type of wording, the book of Catcher in the Rye would have been hugely less interesting, and would undoubtedly not have become famous worldwide. Even though Holden uses swear words, he uses these just like he uses other adjectives or nouns, in a mild way. He never means to offend anyone, since the reader, whoever that may be, is the only person he is talking to anyway. He obviously doesn’t like the use of strong swear words, as near to the end of the book, when he visits phoebe’s school, he sees graffiti saying ‘fuck you’ on the walls, and tries to rub them off.
This yet again shows Holden’s compassionate nature. Holden also does many adult activities, despite his real age of sixteen. He smokes, drinks, and at one point even tries to have sex with a hotel prostitute. In this way, Holden is trying to have more independence than he should be credited with. Critics and readers often portray Holden as the typical teenager, wanting more independence than he should have, and rebelling against the adult society, in his small way. An awful lot of the events in the book, which Holden does, are rebellious, and I believe that the only reason Holden does do these things is to be a rebel, for instance:
Holden is thrown out of four schools before and during the course of the book. This is because of his lack of will power to work. Holden has been achieving bad grades throughout his high school life, not out of a lack of intelligence, in fact Holden is hugely intelligent, but out of a will to rebel against society. If the ‘done thing’ was to fail miserably at school, and then go on to do badly in life, and most teenagers were expected to do this, then Holden would surely excel in school life. He not only rebels against the adults in his life, but also against the teenagers as well.
At many times in the book, Holden calls young people, as well as older people ‘phoney’, and rarely thinks otherwise about people. It is as if Holden views society itself as phoney. In quite a few ways, Holden is a person who is clinging to the notion about human kindness being so much more important than the ‘success’ standard which is set down before teenagers. Salinger constantly portrays Holden as a cynical character as can be seen in the following passage in which he describes hid father and the line of work in which he is. ” ‘Lawyers are all right, I guess – but it doesn’t appeal to me,’ I said. I mean they’re all right if they go around saving innocent guys’ lives all the time, and like that, but you don’t do that kind of stuff if you’re a lawyer.
All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hotshot. How would you know you weren’t being a phoney? The trouble is, you wouldn’t” Holden is constantly told by teachers, parents, any figure of authority, that he is a failure, and because of this, he has come to believe this as well, when in fact, he is a very intelligent and capable human.
In fact, he is not only intelligent; he is a very humane person, with morals, of sorts, and beliefs, unlike the other ‘sheep-like’ people in his surrounding environment. Holden has countless phrases, which he uses regularly, which lead the reader to feel that Holden is a real person, who once did live in America. These phrases also give the impression that Holden is a real character, who has his own style of language and use of it. Do you wanna know the truth?… This is one of Holden’s phrases.
It is said as if he is a source of knowledge, which cannot be undermined, and his information on this subject will be correct. It is like the reader or listener as asked a question. Since the reader or listener cannot ask a question to the book, Holden asks the question for us. Salinger uses this to his advantage to combine the reader or listener into the book. It also makes Holden sound intelligent, as if only he knows what it’s really like. Goddam… this is another of Holden’s phrases. He uses this the most of all his phrases. It is a mild form of swearing, and really doesn’t do any harm.
He uses this as an every day adjective, like stupid, or annoying. It is used about a large number of the characters or events in the novel, showing that Holden has quite a cynical view of a lot of things in his world. No kidding!… This is another of the phrases Holden uses, like ‘do you wanna know the truth? ‘. It is meant to re-assure the reader that Holden really does know what he’s talking about. It is always said after Holden has described an event or something that someone has once said to him, and he says it as if the reader would not believe whatever he is saying.
Even when the thing is quite a small insignificant thing, and is quite believable, it is as if no matter what he says, no one would believe him. This portrays the kind of life Holden has had, always having to make people believe him, maybe he lied a lot when he was younger, making people tend not to believe him now. That killed me… He says this when he sees something funny which made him laugh, whether it be a person making an idiot of themselves, or someone phoney looking funny. Of course, the latter wouldn’t be described as funny or laughable by other phoney people, as Holden describes what seems to be the rest of the population as.
Therefore, Holden has a very individual personality compared to the rest of the people around him in 1950’s America. This is another extremely noticeable point about Catcher in the Rye; if there were no dates mentioned, or any particular fashions which people wore at the time, of which there are already very few, the reader would never know that the book is set in 1950’s America in the first place. I personally, didn’t realise until the first time Holden mentioned the date, at the end of the first chapter.
Even after the date had been mentioned, it didn’t seem to matter that the book had been written more than 50 years earlier, as I could still relate to the book. This is what I feel compels most readers to read Catcher in the Rye, the fact that at some point in the book, they will be able to associate with Holden. This is because of the utter truth of Holden in the book, or should I say, Jerome Salinger. This is an important part of the idea behind the book. Most of the events in the book relate to Salinger himself. Holden is, in fact, Salinger. To a certain extent, he is, anyway.
Salinger was also expelled from numerous schools in his youth, and no doubt underwent the same sorts of experiences that Holden went through in his youth. Salinger in a way created a biography, which would be read by millions more than a biography of an unknown author would be. Conclusion There are definite similarities between the narrative voices in Catcher in the Rye and Wuthering Heights. For instance the way in which Mr. Lockwood speaks is similar to the way in which Holden Caulfield speaks. They both use language which shows signs of great intelligence throughout. Mr.
Lockwood obviously would never have been as informal as Holden would have been, but since everything that Holden says is exactly what he’s thinking, that isn’t surprising. Mr. Lockwood was probably just as sarcastic and derisive as Holden, just not as openly so. They also judge people very quickly, and leave no room for explanation. They have similar characteristics and use sarcasm so describe people and events. Holden’s sarcasm is taken far less seriously, or pompously than Mr. Lockwood’s is, mainly because of the time difference between when Holden was alive and when Mr. Lockwood was.
Sarcasm was taken far more seriously and insults were rarely used in pre-20th century in upper-class areas of Britain. Obviously Wuthering Heights is not an upper-class area, but the inhabitants of the grange were all brought up very well, and taught to be gentlemanly and lady-like. Any sarcasm said about them would certainly have been a scandal in its small confined space. The homeliness and chattiness of Nelly is visible in Catcher in the Rye as Holden speaks to the reader as if they were a close friend or as his thoughts would run, even if he does not actually say these things to anyone in his story.
When you compare Nelly to Holden without taking certain things in account, there is no comparison at all. But you have to take into account the language used by the entire population at the time of Wuthering Heights compared to the language frequently used in 1950’s America. When you do take this into account and compare the difference between Nelly and the rest of the narrators in Wuthering Heights you can see how Nelly was as different to the other characters in the book as Holden is different to his other characters.
When studying the letter written by Isabella to Nelly, it is difficult to find any similarities, but upon looking closely, you can find that there are some. When Isabella talks about how she regards her husband as a devil and not a man at all, this is in some ways, using sarcasm, as she obviously knows he is not really a devil. She is trying to portray that he really is as bad as she says he is, by exaggerating the claims made about Heathcliff. Holden also does this in Catcher in the Rye when he says ‘no kidding! ‘ and ‘you wanna know the truth? ‘. They are trying to make the situation sound real, as if no-one would believe them.
The savageness of Cathy and Heathcliff’s voices are the obvious similarities to Holden’s voice. Although Holden is considerably more mild mannered than Heathcliff and Cathy, compared to the rest of the characters in the novels, they all use the same cynical attitude towards everyday happenings as each other. Heathcliff obviously has a very violent nature, and uses it regularly, whilst Cathy rarely becomes violent, just aggressive, in her speaking. Holden is not as physically violent as Heathcliff, but does on occasions become violent enough to begin a fight, when he is enraged by someone else.
Most of these things would annoy and enrage everyday people in Holden’s case though, unlike in Wuthering Heights where the smallest thing would annoy Heathcliff beyond repair. The romantic language used by Holden throughout the book, when he describes anything at all, is also frequently used by Heathcliff and Cathy, although not in as much of a ‘cheesy’ way. Joseph’s colloquial language is used frequently by Holden as well. The slang words and use of poor or incorrect English is present in both narrators.
Although Joseph uses very very poor language constantly, and Holden frequently uses correct English, to an extent, they can still be compared, since any similarities between 1950’s American language and the language of the mid-19th century are remarkable. Most of Joseph’s language is hardly recognisable, as I proved earlier, by my attempt to decipher exactly what Joseph meant, and Holden’s language is very understandable, but this could well be because of the fact that the language of 1950’s America is not extremely different to the language of present day Britain.
But this should not deter you from he fact that both Holden and Joseph both use slang words, and don’t mind using their own type of language even though it is different to the language of others around them. From this piece of coursework, I have realised the differences between the language used in the 19th century and the 20th century, not by reading exactly what the characters have said and applying it to my work, but by understanding that the reason for the language used in Wuthering Heights is that in 19th century Britain, this was how the working class, middle class, and upper class were viewed by other upper class people.
There is an example of every type of person in Wuthering Heights, be it working class; i. e. Joseph and Nelly, middle class; i. e. Cathy, Heathcliff, and possibly the Linton family, or upper class; i. e. Mr. Lockwood and the Linton family. This is an insight into how people like Emily Bronti?? 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.