Deception, Hardships, and the Brutalities of Life in Various Literary Works

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There is an old cliché that talks about how life isn't a bowl of cherries and that it presents hardships to everyone. Thomas Hobbes takes this cliché to another level when he says, "The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." To most this quote is depressing and dismal, but in many literary works, it portrays the plot that develops throughout the work. From Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, to Hamlet in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, and even Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, the life of man doesn't seem all that it's cracked up to be. These characters face struggles that lead them to become depressed, lonely, senile, and even mad. Whether they are losing their fathers, the love of their lives, or themselves, these characters are a part of a story that shows very little light. The themes of these various works are fall across a similar spectrum as they deal with the misery that life can bring.
In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the theme that is particularly reflected is that life isn't fair and it is difficult to make your way. The main character, Holden Caulfield, deals with his own forms of deception of the adult world and has to learn to manage the struggles that come with growing up. Holden begins to learn to deal with these struggles especially during his time at Pencey Prep, as it was not enjoyable for him. There was nothing about the school that Holden enjoyed or appreciated. He described some of the food as, "'Steak.' What a racket. You should've seen the steaks. They were these little hard, dry jobs that you could hardly even cut."(35) Holden also has to deal with a terrible roommate, Stradlater. When Holden went on a double date with him he describes Stradlater's motives and att...

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Salinger, J. D.. The Catcher in the Rye. [1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 19511945. Print.
The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger that is told from the point of view of Holden Caulfield. Holden is a young man struggling with growing up and facing the adult world. As a misunderstood teenager, Holden learns to deal with the deception of the adult world and the consequences of his choices.

Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet: Entire Play." Hamlet: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. .
Hamlet is play by William Shakespeare about a young Prince who is dealing with the death of his father. Facing deceit and deception, Hamlet struggles to find the truth of what really happened. In his efforts to avenge his father, Hamlet ends up losing everything in his effort to establish justice.

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