Essay on Deceitfulness in The Scarlet Letter and The Catcher in the Rye

Essay on Deceitfulness in The Scarlet Letter and The Catcher in the Rye

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The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, both are books relating to the alienation of an individual wanting to fit into society. In the Scarlet Letter, the protagonists, Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale have committed adultery which is a sin unacceptable in the Puritan Society. Hester is married to Chillingworth, the strange doctor who is out for revenge. Pearl is born to Hester, as an outcome of their sin however Hester does not reveal who the father is. She is obligated to wear the letter “A” on her chest, as Dimmesdale lives through his life remaining silent. In the book, Hawthorne shows the interactions of these characters and the reaction of these characters to Hester’s sin. In The Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield is a teenager who is sick of the world. He gets kicked out of his school and roams the streets of New York for a couple of days before returning home where he meets new people. Holden finds out more about himself and how he relates to the world around him. He briefly enters what we believes is adulthood and becomes a “phony” himself. By the end of the story, Holden realized he doesn’t like the type of person he has become, so he turns back into a negative, judgmental person. The analysis of the main characters, Hester, Dimmesdale, Chillingworth, and Holden of The Scarlet Letter and The Catcher in the Rye show that they’re impostures and the main theme of the books’ is hypocrisy.
Hester Prynne, the woman in the Scarlet letter who commits adultery, is partly in responsible for the suffering and resulting hypocrisy in the story. From the start, it is shown that Hester is a strong woman; she faces the hardships that her sinfulness has caused. She...


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... The Catcher in the Rye." Hemingway Review 2.1 (1982): 70. EBSCO. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
Buckner, Sally. "The Scarlet Letter." Masterplots. By Laurence W. Mazzeno. Fourth ed. Pasadena, CA: Salem, 2011. 1-4. EBSCO. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.
Harris, Kenneth Marc. "Hypocrisy and Self Deception in Hawthorne's Fiction." American Literature. Vol. 61. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1988. 294. EBSCO. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet letter. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1961. Book.
Pimple, Kenneth D. ""Subtle, but Remorseful Hypocrite": Dimmesdale's Moral Character."Studies in the Novel 22 Sept. 1993: 143. Print.
Privitera, Lisa. "Holden's Irony in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye." Explicator. Issue 4 ed. Vol. 66. Taylor & Francis, 2008. 203-06. EBSCO. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston, MA: Little Brown &, 1945. Print.

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