Characters Seeking Identity: The Fault in Our Stars, and Catcher in the Rye BY ap46281 My Question: How does the Journey, in which a character seeks his/her identity, help to develop deeper themes and symbols for the reader? It is never obvious or stated whether an author intends on putting in a specific theme or symbol. However, when analyzing specific texts it becomes clear that certain points have more purpose than others. In The Fault in Our Stars and Catcher in the Rye there are main characters that are searching for meaning and true identity.
A common trend with these character’s quests for true identity is that there s more depth behind their words. The main characters’ inner voices and process of failure in both The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, and Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Slinger, help to enhance underlying themes in the novels. In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel’s narration and acceptance of the negativity in her life both produce themes that carry through in literature. During the novel, Hazel reflects by saying, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. Hazel, a cancer patient who never knows what the next day will bring let alone the next few years, is tuck living life in the moment. Rather than dwelling on the inevitable of her illness, Hazel’s character is full of hope and positive thinking. The narration of her inner voice brings the reader to realize the idea of acceptance during a hard situation. Hazel’s persona in this quote also shows that as a person, she is learning to accept herself for who she is rather than the illness that she has. This quote also uses words that have a very powerful connotation, such as “infinity’.
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Whether the writer intended to do so or not, infinity gives promise and hope for a future, which Hazel is holding on o the dream of. Another example where the character’s Journey enhances the meaning of the story is slightly more negative. Hazel says, “The marks humans leave are too often scars. ” Hazel begins to accept that in life, many times the people closest to you are the ones who end up hurting you most. Her acceptance of this idea is one that takes a long time. Throughout the novel, she struggles internally with the fact that she is so close to somebody who may not always be there for her both emotionally and physically.
Hazel’s relationship with Augustus and her acceptance hat the person she loves may inevitably leave the biggest scar in her life deepens the story greatly. No matter what the intentions that John Green had, the underlying theme of struggling to accept love when pain is inevitable comes through. Similarly, in Catcher in the Rye, Holder Coalfield’s inner voice and encounters with negativity in life help the reader understand deeper themes in the novel. As Holder approaches the museum of natural history he notes that, “The best thing, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was.
Nobody moved… The only thing that would be different would be you. ” Holder, as both the character and the narrator, constantly complains about various aspects of people and life. In this instance, it seems that he is being critical of life once again. However, if the reader is to dig beneath the surface, it comes through that Holder is Just afraid of change. He to face the change. The narrator’s voice in this novel is extremely telling. Holder says many comments, similar to this, that allow the readers to not only hear what he is thinking, but to understand things that he himself may not even understand.
From just this excerpt of inner voice, one can gather that Holder fears growing up and losing his innocence. Another example of where he said something gives a deeper meaning is when Holder is walking through the halls of a building, he tries to wipe off the swear words on the walls but then realizes, “It’s hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the ‘Buck you’ signs in the world. It’s impossible. ” In this quote, Holder is accepting the negatively and criticism in life. He realizes that there is no way to avoid it or erase it all.
The simple image of not being able to erase a bad word has much more depth, whether the author intended so or not. It draws a parallel to Holder’s feelings of not doing well in life or knowing where he is going. None of the bad in his life can be erased, Just as not all of the swear words can be erased. One more example where something Holder says reflects the negativity is when he says, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. ” Despite Holder’s efforts to talk about his feelings, he just ends up feeling a deeper sense of negativity. This pessimistic comment by
Holder could imply to the reader that despite any attempt at acceptance or communication about his problems, Holder will never be able to find peace. This idea shows the depth to Holder’s problems that aren’t necessarily apparent on the surface of the book. When reading a book, it is easy to Just skim over the superficial meaning of the words. When looking more closely at texts and even specific single words, depth and themes begin to appear. Whether the authors intended to or not, both John Green and J. D. Clinger’s characters have inner voices and moments of negativity where a stronger point carries through.