Essay about Catch 22, by Joseph Heller and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Essay about Catch 22, by Joseph Heller and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

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What being an American truly means is a topic that fascinates American authors and readers alike. What composes the American spirit, the American culture, the American identity and the American values are questions many authors answer and nearly all authors answer differently. In the novels Catch 22, by Joseph Heller and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger the idea of Americanism, is explored in great detail. Each novel features a slightly different insight into what exactly being an American truly means. Through the use of characters and narration, the literary works Catch 22 and The Catcher in the Rye convey what their respective authors believe to be American spirit, American culture, American identity and American values.
The novels Catch 22 and The Catcher in the Rye both convey what their authors believe to be the American spirit, through their characters’ actions and thoughts. In the novel Catch 22, Heller establishes the American spirit as standing up for what one passionately believes in and having a fighting spirit. Yossarian’s fighting spirit and desire to stand up for his beliefs; therefore, showcases the American spirit. At the end of the novel, Yossarian decides to stand up passionately for his beliefs and fearlessly abandon the army. Though this does not initially appear to exemplify the American spirit, the satirical natural of the book creates an environment in which the military is the antagonist and Yossarian is the protagonist. Therefore, though he is fighting authority, Yossarian is truly passionately standing up for fairness and his own life; which is the epitome of the American spirit as described by Heller. While explaining his intentions for leaving, Yossarian states excitedly, “I’m not running awa...


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...e Rye each convey what their respective authors believe about American spirit, American culture, American identity and American values through the use of characters and narration. Each of the novels has a similar yet different view on what exactly truly being an American means. Americanism is explored in great detail in both of the works, allowing for a full explanation of what being an American means. The question of what being an American truly means is interpreted and answered differently by hundreds of authors. Both Catch 22 and The Catcher in the Rye approach this question slightly differently, but successfully clarify what each author believes to be at the core of American society.


Works Cited

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1991. Print.
Heller, Joseph. Catch 22. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2004. Print.

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