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The Catcher in the Rye Comparison

Updated on May 31, 2014
Monet, Antibes 1888
Monet, Antibes 1888

Catcher in the Rye and Monet's Antibes 1888: Comparison

There were many things about the book, the Catcher in the Rye, and the painting Antibes 1888 to compare to each other. Compared to the painting there is much to look at but the main comparisons were loneliness, maturity, and civilization. This was a perfect fit for the painting because of how there is little that meets the eye but once you get to look at it some more and read between the lines you get to see the real meaning of the painting.

Antibes of 1888 is a picture perfect scene of a day in the ancient city of Antibes on an island. There is so much symbolism found in this painting, but a big one was the island. Loneliness is connected to the island, an isolated area away from life with the only way getting away from there is swimming or on a boat. Holden was a very lonely person throughout the story and struggles to find someone to be there for him. He was very independent taking things into his own hands, and doing his own thing like when he said, “okay” (Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, page 91) to old Maurice to get him a prostitute. He was in his own world, alone and wanting to be someone older and just someone that was not himself, especially when he would lie about his age saying that he was around “twenty-two” (Salinger 91) in order to be with a prostitute. Holden would eat by himself, which someone would do if they were stuck on an island; it is the equivalent of hunting because when you hunt you’re on your own, trying to stay alive. The painting shows a relaxed environment but it really is torture for the person living there. An example of torture in Holden’s life would be when old Maurice was bullying him to give his “five bucks” (Salinger 102) and Holden got “Plugged” (Salinger 104) for not wanting to. The tree is also a symbol for loneliness because it is the only tree around by itself. Holden’s world is the island and he is the tree and he needs to grow up and go to the city, which would be adulthood, to not be alone anymore.

The tree is the first thing that you see when you look at the painting and it has a huge significance to Holden. It is located right in the center of the picture meaning that it is something that you cant stop your self from looking at. Which is just like the fact that you can’t stop yourself from maturing to an adult. As in the case of Holden he has trouble accepting the fact that he was going to the real world and he has to face his problems. The tree represents Holden’s growth in maturity. It has grown the wrong way and is going in the wrong direction, instead of going up its going down toward the water. The foundation of the tree wasn’t the best just like Holden the tree didn’t have something to support it when it started to slant down. Holden lacked that support to help him grow up so he found trouble fitting in by going to nightclubs that he wasn’t old enough to be in and tried to enjoy only the benefits like when he “ordered a scotch and soda” (Salinger 69) to get drunk at the club. On the top of the tree are fruits and leaves that represent all of the problems happening to Holden such as him getting kicked out and never “coming back to Pencey” (Salinger 4). Also as the tree matures it will lose some of its leaves or problems but new leaves will grow, it’ll always be apart of the tree and Holden. Maturing was definitely a hard thing for Holden to do and even at the end he doesn’t and he has to get help from a “psychoanalyst” (Salinger 213).

Across the water there is a city that is far and small. It represents the adulthood of Holden waiting for him to arrive there and get back to reality. To get to the city would be a struggle for Holden because of how it is a long way from where he is. The city can be thought of as the rehab center that Holden entered where there are mountains to get over, and over them is the rest of the world. He would have to reach high goals and be able to not go back to the island. The city has bright colors shining in the distance, which could be thought of as the benefits of being an adult and the mountains as the hard parts of life such as surviving on your own like when Holden got in trouble with “old Maurice” (Salinger 105) at the motel when they were taking money away from him and he said “leave my wallet alone” (Salinger 103), there was no one but himself to help him out. The mountains are rocky and hard just like the road to life is for Holden. There is no life or cities on the island where he doesn’t want to leave, yet he wants to go back and forth with some type of transportation to go to the adult world (the city) and go back to his world (the island).

Holden in the story has had many different types of situations that could be compared to Monet’s painting of Antibes 1888. There were several comparisons but the certain things that stuck out when you observed the painting were loneliness, maturity, and civilization. The painting speaks a lot of words and tells a story just like The Catcher in the Rye.

Works Cited

-"Claude Monet (1840 - 1926) Artwork Images, Exhibitions, Reviews." Contemporary Art - World Wide Arts Resources - Web. 17 June 2010. <>.

-"Collections Object : Morning at Antibes." Philadelphia Museum of Art. Web. 17 June 2010. <>.

-"Monet and the Mediterranean." Questia Online Library. Web. 17 June 2010. <>.

-"Monet and the Sea - the Marine Landscape by Claude Monet." - Art and the Art World. Web. 17 June 2010. <>.

-"Monet Art Prints - Antibes." Monet's Art: Framed Art Prints and Canvas. Web. 17 June 2010. <>.

-"Monet, Claude Summary." | Study Guides, Lesson Plans, Book Summaries and More. Web. 18 June 2010. <>.

-Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991. Print.


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