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Emerging Light and Perpetual Darkness Essay

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Tragedy struck at the most euphoric times of their lives forcing two high school boys to endure a colossal woe almost beyond description. In Robert Redford’s drama film Ordinary People, Conrad Jarrett, a seemingly typical high school boy, is at first seen hanging around his jockey friends, conveying a false impression to audience that all is fine. It is later revealed to the audience that Conrad’s brother, Bucky, died in a boating accident leading to Conrad’s failed attempt at committing suicide. Similarly, in J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield loses his brother, Allie, after Allie sadly succumbs to leukemia. In Holden’s case, he lashes out at the world, criticizing society by calling nearly everyone a “phony.” Though Holden does offer an instinctive initial reaction similar to Conrad’s, Holden does not do much else to facilitate his recovery. He instead foolishly chooses the easy way out of grieving by indulging in degenerate activities such as consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and laughably failing to have sex. Despite that though, Holden, like Conrad, does at least try to establish deeper social relationship with others. They both realize that in order to alleviate the burden of grief, socializing with others is a must. Though both Holden Caulfield and Conrad Jarrett both attempt to establish deeper social connections with other people to facilitate their recovery from grift, only Conrad actively does the hard work of bereavement.
Unlike Holden who foolishly clings onto to his pride, Conrad seeks a psychologist to ensure that he facilitates a fast recovery from grief. By consulting with Dr. Berger, the therapist helping Conrad, Holden is able to vent his grief and release the reservoir of angst store...


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...rl Luce, a former peer. Though he fails miserably at establishing new social connections, Holden does show that he at least attempts to.
Conrad and Holden share a same story. They both lose their brothers at a young age and find trouble when trying to cope with the grief that comes with their deaths. They also realize that establishing new social relationships lightens the burden of grief; however, that is the point at which their stories diverge. Conrad knows that actively seeking support from his parents and Dr. Berger allows him to vent his grief, thus facilitating his recovery from grief. Holden on the other hand is stubborn and refuses to accept assistance from others to facilitate a faster recovery from grief. Assistance is the greatest tool in helping recover from grief. While Conrad soars like a newly reborn phoenix, Holden is engulfed by perpetual despair.



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