Distinguishing minds in their own isolations J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye is widely recognized as one of the most self-destructive novels ever written. The novel’s protagonist Holden Caulfield is known for his anti-social behavior and his self-loathing, self-isolating character in the book. Holden’s traits could widely be compared to Napoleon Dynamite the protagonist of the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite directed by Jared Hess. Napoleon is characterized by his cliched “school nerd” behavior and of course his own self-isolating habit just like Holden.
Like Holden, Napoleon tries to put down people to isolate him from others. But even though Holden and Napoleon are alike on how they assume the traits of the people they meet, they are very much different on how they perceive their own isolated worlds. Holden tends to long for people he had bonded with before while Napoleon is very much comfortable being isolated. Even though Holden likes to be by himself, he also misses the company of others who was once in his life. “About all I know is, I sort of miss everybody I told about… It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
” (Salinger, 214). Holden longs for the people whom he told the reader about and explains that Holden is the type to miss his old friends even though he likes to isolate himself from them or even society. Napoleon on the other hand does not like to be with anyone else but himself. Napoleon does not like school because he has to be around with people. “Grandma: How was scool? Napoleon: The worst day of my life what do you think? ” (Hess, Grandma/ Napoleon). Napoleon thinks negatively of school which explains that he is not fond of studying in classes or anything to do with socializing outside of his own home or comfort zone.
Holden and Napoleon are both different when it comes to being alone. They each have their own reaction to being with people and being left alone. Holden and Napoleon are definitely different in terms of perceiving their own world and they also differ from ways on how they judge or put down other peoples traits. Holden and Napoleon are both very judgmental when comes to meeting people. Napoleon can sometimes avoid putting down people and actually give complements to people who he hangs out with like Pedro. “Pedro: Do you think people would vote for me?
Napoleon: Heck yes! I’d vote for you. Pedro: Like what are my skills? Napoleon: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you’re really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you’re like the only guy at school who has a mustache. ” (Hess, Napoleon/ Pedro). Napoleon respects Pedro’s ability to be able to run for class president as well as he compliments Pedro by telling him his skills instead of putting him down unlike Holden who puts down Ackley as he is introduced in the novel. “He was one of these very, very tall, round-shouldered guys – he was about six four – with lousy teeth.
The whole time he roomed next to me, I never even once saw him brush his teeth. They always looked mossy and awful…besides that he had a lot of pimples. Not just on his forehead or his chin, like most guys, but all over his whole face. And not only that, he had a terrible personality. He was also sort of a nasty guy. ” (Salinger, 19). Holden puts down Ackley as he is introduced to the reader; this is how Holden feels for Ackley whom he lived next door with for years which differs completely from Napoleon who supports Pedro running for class president in terms of judging others and the people they meet.
Both have their own mindset in their isolations and both have different ways to perceive their isolated worlds. Holden and Napoleon are both judgmental and also portray differently in terms of reactions to family confronting them in their own personal space. Holden has a very intimate and caring relationship with his little sister Phoebe while Napoleon puts down his uncle and older brother when they confront him about his life. Unlike Holden, Napoleon does not have a close relationship in terms of emotional support or care with anyone in his family.
Napoleon is disgruntled when he is confronted by his uncle Rico and older brother Kip about what he is doing with his life. “Uncle Rico: I wish you wouldn’t look at me like that, Napoleon. Napoleon: I wish you’d get out of my life and shut up! Uncle Rico: I’m gonna tell you somethin’ right now. While you’re out there playing patty cake with your friend Pedro, your Uncle Rico is makin’ 120 bucks. Napoleon: I could make that much money in five seconds! Kip: Geez. Yeah right, Napoleon. I made, like, 75 bucks today. Uncle Rico: Napoleon, its looks like you don’t have a job. So why don’t you get out there and feed Tina.
Napoleon: Why don’t you go eat a decroded piece of crap! ” (Hess, Uncle Rico/Kip/Napoleon) Napoleon obviously is upset when his uncle Rico and brother Kip intervene with his life. This is how Napoleon perceives his isolation that his family is his enemy and unfriendly to his life while he is at his own personal world, while Holden and his sister are in a very intimate family relationship. When Phoebe found out that Holden got kicked out of school, she started to worry for him and starts telling him that their father is going to kill him for being out of school again. “‘Cut it out, now,’ I said. ‘Nobody’s gonna kill me.
Nobody’s gonna even – C’mon, Phoeb, take that goddamn thing off your head. Nobody’s gonna kill me. ” (Salinger, 165). Holden realizes that Phoebe is upset about him getting kicked out and starts to bury her head under her pillow and so Holden tries to stop her from worrying by comforting her and telling her to stop fretting over his situation. This shows intimacy between Holden and his sister. When Phoebe confronts Holden on being kicked out of school, Holden perceives worry in his world when Phoebe herself worries about him, unlike Napoleon who just puts down his own family to be left alone in his own world.
Holden Caulfield and Napoleon Dynamite are very similar in the ways on how they assume other peoples traits but are very different on how they perceive their own isolated worlds. Holden Caulfield sees his world as a vessel that goes through a sea of society that he loathes and his ship is his isolated world where he is with his family and sister who he has a very intimate relationship with while Napoleon Dynamite sails alone in the same sea that Holden is in, Napoleon sails with his friend Pedro and Debbie and he only strive to keep it that way.
The Novel and the Film taught readers and movie goers to not judge a book by its cover and that there is definitely more than meets the eye. Everyone has their own struggle and not everyone understands them in the first sight and even if one seems to be so much like the other, there is always something that makes them unique and different. Works Cited Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. (1951) Napoleon Dynamite. Dir. Jared Hess. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Pictures. 2004. Film. http://www. moviefanatic. com/quotes/movies/napoleon-dynamite/