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Flynn 1 Alexandra Flynn Marlaire AP Literature and Composition Period 4 1 June 2012 Taking the Limelight Success is achieving

your goals; pushing past obstacles that are placed before you to reach an end product. But the vision of success can be altered. Some people might, like Martin Roberts, think that success can only be achieved by “uncompromising fingers” that never give up and have to go through a great effort to triumph. Others, however, take pride in the little things in life that they consider a success, such as finishing an assignment, or cleaning the house. The issue of success is prevalent in many works of literature, such as Hamlet. But with the issue of success comes the issue of morality, where does morality play into success? Some people don’t have morality when it comes to trying to attain their goals, they lie and cheat, kill even, so they may overcome their obstacles. Where does this lack of morality come from? The fact is, the world is corrupt. The corruption of those that are trying to be successful are leading the example for the rest of the world. When someone gets away with the lying and cheating then others believe that they can get away with it too. Then, this thing of the adult world, it leaks into the world of children leading to their early loss of innocence. If they know about lying and cheating then they are no longer pure and innocent. Jennifer Bouchard explains that when “children… are exposed to the complications of adulthood and lose…their innocence.” Those that don’t like what is happening with the corruption have a hard time because they need to gain power in order to make an impact on society. Both Prince Hamlet, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Holden,

He is becomes outraged when the ghost of King Hamlet informs him that the king's brother. but he also stole his wife. she only grieved for her late husband for two months before wedding his brother. Prince Hamlet makes the crown look weak when he easily makes King Claudius paranoid with his pretend madness. such as Polonius. struggle to gain power from the adults around them and criticize their surroundings in the process. with all the fuss about his father dying and his mother’s marriage with his uncle he could have been forgotten and he is using this drive for revenge as a way to be noticed (Eugene Peterson). He uses his act of insanity to make criticisms of the crown and people of upper status. Hamlet also questions the morality of both King Claudius and his mother. Queen Gertrude. Salinger. The most immoral act is King Claudius killing the late King Hamlet to steal his crown. was to blame for his murder. 1.82-83). But what if it wasn’t real? What if the ghost never came to Hamlet? Then is his quest for revenge justified? Or is there something else behind his ambition? “Ambition can be…the need to be noticed” and maybe that is so with Hamlet. for not killing King Claudius right off the bat and King Claudius for his inhumane gain of power. Claudius.4. It filled Hamlet with the desire to keep “the royal bed of Denmark” from being “A couch for luxury and damned incest” (Ham. The acclimation of power is something Prince Hamlet is very critical of. He can’t make direct criticisms to the king because he is the king and even the prince has to show respect towards him. “Paddling in your neck with his damn’d fingers” But the queen is also to blame. He is trying to break free from the control the king has over him so that he may successfully reveal him as the killer.D. However. Hamlet is disgusted with his mother for moving on so quickly and forgetting about . Queen Gertrude. the new king. this act begins to turn into reality when Hamlet becomes so angry with himself.Flynn 2 from Catcher in the Rye by J.

revengeful. 3.121-131) This rant is said to Ophelia but the things he says are directed to his mother. He sees the adult world creeping in on the children of our society and he tries to keep it back as long as . Where’s your father? -(Ham. or time to act them in.Flynn 3 the true king.1. While he questions the morality of others.1. 3. crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all.122). and most women. Therefore. imagination to give them shape. ambitious. with more offenses at my best than I have thoughts to put them in. of being “breeder[s] of sinners” because they don’t teach their daughters. and sons. believe none of us. The prince displays this disgust with his rant at Ophelia when her father and King Claudius set her up for bait: Get thee to a nunnery! Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest. Holden Caulfield struggles greatly with the loss of innocence around him. he must make these indictments in a round about way through Ophelia to make his point. he also questions his own morality as he contemplates suicide being “both seduced and repelled by the idea of suicide” (Hamlet Theme of Morality). He can’t make this allegation directly to his mother because she is the queen and holds more power over him that he holds over her. What should such fellows as I do. how to live a moral life and to raise an honest family (Ham. He accuses his mother. but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were proud. Go thy ways to a nunnery.

from being corrupt by the adult world. Edwin Haviland Miller noticed that because of “the death of his brother… he is emotionally at the same age” as when he died. but his understanding of the world did. He wishes he knew what he knows now when he was a kid so that he could cherish his childhood more.Flynn 4 possible. He wants to still be the innocent child he once was. Holden’s emotionally state didn’t change as he grew up. you can never get it back. died. The ducks represent the loss of innocence. That’s why he is trying to keep Phoebe. Allie. because when the winter comes. He himself is trying to hold back the adult world. his little sister. . but it’s already too late for him to go back. he wishes that is what happens with childhood innocence. The pond freezes over and the fish are still there. Holden knew how much he could have provided to the world. Holden struggles with power because he wants to “be the catcher in the rye” and catch the children of the world before they run off the “edge of some crazy cliff”. because it is his last string connecting him to simple times. once you lose it. just like innocence. but they are never the same ducks. how. the ducks leave. but his life was cut short and the world still lay in the hands of the adults. The adults have power over the kids and since the adults are corrupt. but he cannot make an impact because he doesn’t have power (Salinger 173). Holden has been to so many schools and then kicked out in order to prolong the time between adolescence and adulthood. whom he didn’t trust. represent childhood and how it should be preserved for as long as possible. then nothing is going to change until it is brought to their attention and they won’t listen to Holden who is still just a kid. He was sympathetic toward children and their early loss of innocence because he was forced to go through that traumatic experience and face the horrors of the world at such a young age. to him. The fish. He realized this when his brother. He compares himself to the ducks and the fish that are in the pond at Central Park in New York. Ducks always come back to the lake.

rich. They always tell Holden the truth about life. But Holden had no power to say anything to him because Stradlater was older than him and in society elders had to be respected and not be accused of . Stradlater is considered a phony because he has fallen into the adult world by being an over-sexed teenager.B had great potential as a writer but ruined his chances by giving into what the adult world wanted. such as lying and cheating. He doesn’t particularly like Ackly because he “never did anything… except stay in his room and squeeze his pimples” and doesn’t really make the effort to befriend Holden (36). which is something that he does himself. he claims that he “was surrounded by jerks” (85). Spencer. which furthers his opinion about the adult world being corrupt and full of phonies. The adult world is full of people that have gained great monetary success. well educated man that “always looked good… but… was a secret slob” that has other people do his homework for him (27). Antolini and Mr. He criticizes his brother. flashy. His being rich and flashy tells Holden that Stradlater is not appreciative of his fortune. presenting himself as a clean. but when they are away he thinks about his true opinion of them. Holden believed that D. He can tolerate people like Ackly and Stradlater. He repeatedly calls the people around him “phonies”. Holden also calls his peers phonies. for selling out to Hollywood. Stadlater is a hypocrite. and a hypocrite. Also. but does not approve of.Flynn 5 Holden’s fear of the adult world is based on his opinion of it containing corruption and false success. D. He doesn’t get along with anyone that he is around. Stradlater’s corruptness goes directly against Holden’s attempt to preserve innocence. Holden is very critical of Stradlater because he is the embodiment of everything he doesn’t like in a person. He doesn’t approve of the adults that surround him because they always sugarcoat life. he is corrupt.B. because he doesn’t believe there motives are just. but through immoral ways. The only adults he trusts are Mr.

gender. This is what Prince Hamlet. but those who realize it don’t necessarily have the power to make those changes. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Even a prince would have limited power if what he wanted to change was the king. especially the morality of one’s surroundings. a goal to strive for.D. But those ideas about what one wants to change give him or her something to hold onto. and class.Flynn 6 anything that they say they were innocent of. and Holden. . There are things in this world that need to be changed. Success of fulfilling is triumph of the power struggle could lead to a great change. corrupting their morals. Stradlater would deny the fact that “he never cleaned [his razor]” and Holden had no place to say otherwise (27). Power can be limited by age. had to go through to try to reach their individual goals and along the way criticizing the lives that surround them. If one achieves his or her goal through immoral ways then the people surrounding them will recognize this form as being acceptable. from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. from J.

William. Salem Press. Shmoop University Inc. Prince of Denmark with Connections. and Company. 1999. “The Chance for Success.” Shmoop. Web. Interview by David Wood.” Christian Century Foundation. Roberts.” Contemporary Review. Great Neck Publishing. Edwin Haviland. Understanding Literature: Literary Contexts in Collection. Brown. Winter 2011. Literary Contexts in Short Stories Collections: J. Salinger’s ‘Nine Stories’. 31 May 2012 .D. Eugene. Salinger.Flynn 7 Works Cited Bouchard. Shakespeare.. 2008. and Winston Harcourt Brace & Company. Austin: Holt. 31 May 2012. 13 March 2002. Web. Peterson. Rinehart. 1951. Vol. Jennifer. Martin. Print. The Catcher in the Rye. Contemporary Review. Web Publication. Miller. 31 May 2012 “Hamlet Theme of Morality. Critical Insights: The Catcher in the Rye. p503. Web. 31 May 2012. Apr. Boston: Little. J. Web. 31 May 2012. 2011. The Tragedy of Hamlet. “The Best Life. 293 Issue 1703.D. Print.

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