The two novels Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Catcher in the Rye by J. D.
Salinger deal with internal conflicts surrounding young adults and children. The differences between them lie in Catcher in the Rye’s bloodiest moment being a dripping nose in a teenage spat, whilst Lord of the Flies contains the murder of children by children on a savage run island. However both of these novels have something to teach us about humanity and our purpose, as well as what it is to be human.Catcher in the rye was the more enjoyable and relatable novel. Salinger’s tale about Holden Caulfield who is feeling beaten down by life, outcast, and not wanting to be punished by his parents, parents sounds quite familiar. Every teenager has gone through these feelings.
What sets it apart as a fantastic read is the reader begins to feel a love – hate relationship with Holden, due to the fact that he is extremely annoying and rude, as well as a huge hypocrite, but at the same time, reading about him is extremely interesting. The way he bluntly says things that shouldn’t be said, points out phony things that may or may not actually be phony, and his repetition of certain catchphrases are all extremely irritating but at the same time one cannot stop reading. His flaws are exactly what make him so interesting. Holden Caulfield is the boy that girls like who they do not want to like. Holden isn’t particularly witty or funny, the novel is entertaining because of his perspective on the world. Despite how frustrating he is, it is easy to sympathize with Holden because he really is still just a child! He has to rely on his parents, grandparents, and sister for money because he is not an independent person.
He makes a snowball and aims to throw it at a car, but ends up not throwing it just because it ‘looked so nice and white.’ He walks through a school and sees crude graffiti and it makes him sad. And he hires a prostitute but ends up being too nervous and in his head to actually do anything with her. For a teenager, this hesitancy and nervousness is so realistic. As Holden is pushed between one adult to another in the story, it feels like none of the them are properly listening to Holden’s concerns, or care about what he thinks and feels. Life was quite different in the 50’s, but the journey a teenager has to take between childhood and adulthood is still the same struggle.
This novel is about identity; it is about finding your own path and discovering your morals and ideals while doing that. The novel plays with the themes of being not ready to grow up and innocence and that is what makes it so relatable.In lord of the flies we explore themes of savagery and human nature when a group of young boys are stranded on an island and are forced to survive.
The island has plenty of food and water and fun to entertain them. The real challenge of this mythical island is surviving each other. With no parents in sight and no solid authority or order on the island, the boys are forced to build their own society, and because of their naturally wild nature as children and boys, it quickly deteriorates into a violent one. While at first the boys were all having fun on the island, the tension grows as fear and unease begin to take over the young kids and Ralph, the former leader, is not able to wrangle them back into order. The events quickly peak in to multiple character deaths, a chasing and hunting of not only pigs but other humans, and tough moral questions all dealt with by children. This novel is unsettling from the first page to the very last. It tries to convince us that within us all is a rotting pig head, a savage just waiting to spring free when the constraints of society come undone.
This situation is less relatable because the average high school student has never gone through anything like this. We all know that middle to early highschool boys can be wild and rough, but nowhere near the level of unrestrained violence shown in Lord of the Flies. Both novels are terrifically written with concepts that are thought-provoking and compelling. Both with heavy, rash slang and present interesting situations that thoroughly explore the character’s situations, thoughts, and feelings. Both conclusions are satisfying and at the same time quite open-ended. As Catcher in the Rye is a more realistic, frustratingly charming take on human nature, it certainly beats out Lord of the Flies for relatability, but Golding’s novel still takes home the prize for being the most haunting story that makes us question our societal norms and inner urges and instincts.