Comparing to ‘the Perks’, ‘the Catcher’ is found more enjoyable by me. I’m not saying ‘the Perks’ isn’t great–obviously it is. I just made a judgment mostly by my instinctive feelings. Both books are simple to read: words and phrases are plain and frank. Like Charlie says he writes kind of the way he talks, reading these two is just like sitting down facing Charlie and Holden who share likely the same age of you, and hearing their thoughts or complaints about adolescence and life.
In ‘the Catcher’, Holden is used to mixing a lot dirty words in with his grumble, who, surprisingly, didn’t make me sick; instead I found him straightforward and the words refreshed to read. However, ‘the Perks’ narrated by letters sometimes was unpleasant for me to read, because at this time Charlie was extremely joyous, but after turning a page, he was depressed as hell unreasonably. To compare two books thoroughly, I’ll start with the characters. Generally, Holden is a typical bad boy. Throughout the story, he cannot stop his dirty language.
He flunks out of schools; he smokes and drinks a lot, and he even orders a prostitute. Moreover, he seems to hate everything, even like people saying ‘Good luck’, but mostly he is capricious and false of heart. For instance, at the beginning he calls his brother D. B. a prostitute and is disdainful of movies. But later, I found him quite admired his brother and also went to many movies, though he yet dislikes them. Apparently, he does love things: he loves Phoebe; he loves the record he bought for her; he loves being a catcher in the rye.
Actually Holden is a normal boy with love underneath. It is the social fact that makes him miserable, confused and lonely. In this world, to study is to buy a Cadillac. Even the teacher Holden admires most is such an affected phony. Obviously, how an innocent and sentimental boy could possibly figures out so many phony things. Besides, Holden has an inferiority complex. He thinks he is the one with the least gift in his family, and after all he never makes a call to Jane. So, Holden even wants to run away to be a deaf-mute without stupid conversation.
All in all, Holden tries hiding himself from the world, but he cannot hide his ‘catcher’ dream which always direct him on a right way. Charlie, contrary to Holden, has all the qualities of a completely good boy. Pure, subtle and shy, he is just a normal boy living in his own world who is rarely noticed by others. I used to think if you let Holden meet Charlie, he would absolutely say Charlie as another pain in the ass. However, similar to Holden, Charlie has a sort of inferiority complex too. Moreover, the deaths of Aunt Helen and best friend Michael leave him a wound that never heals.
like Holden, Charlie also is desirous to hide himself from the public which seems to have no place for him. But then, there appear Patrick, Sam, his English teacher Bill and so many people trying to understand his world-Charlie is so much luckier than Holden. ‘You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. ’ what Patrick says about Charlie decides Charlie will always enjoy the love around. This innocent boy is so well protected but also vulnerable. So at the end he finally cannot hold the stress from his memory and breaks down, I really felt worried about him.
But fortunately, just like Holden, Charlie still loves the life, and that’s enough. Holden and Charlie, they are the representation of teenager of two ages. I heard ‘the Catcher’ was a pioneer of its narration’s style and had influenced all novels of the same topic of ‘youth’, including ‘the perks’. But I am not a boy of that age, so I won’t affect to comment on its connotation. However, I can say ‘the Perks’ is overwhelmed by love, but the love seems so fragile. ‘the Catcher’ is filled with complaints and resentment, but if you uncover it, you will find the positive sensation that makes you feel calm and peaceful.
Classmates, teachers, prostitute, nuns, taxi driver, old Sally, everyone Holden met seemed unwilling to care about his story. But finally when he told Phoebe about his ‘catcher’ dream and Phoebe put that red hunting hat on his head in the rain, I really feel confident with the future of Holden. Even if everything in the world seems the worst, there’s still something worth us treasuring. Or maybe ‘the Perks’ is just about a reserved boy trying to find the love he deserves, and maybe ‘the Catcher’ is just about a runaway boy finally finds his direction during a short but valuable time.