The different experiences, in a way they have

The thesis portrays and
differentiates between The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome David Salinger and The
House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. In the beginning, both books seemed outright
different. The Catcher in the Rye is a story narrated by Holden Caulfield, a confused
and wretched boy whose family holds a successful reputation while doing his
very best at separating himself from the world around him. On the other hand, The
House on Mango Street, which is often considered a feminist novel (Wissman 159),
is a novel where a girl by the name of Esperanza Cordero, who illustrates her
thoughts poetically as she grows up in a new suburban home slowly adapting.

Required: Your revised
thesis: Both Salinger & Cisneros
highlights how Esperanza and Holden go through their differences, behaviors,
and opinions as they figure their true identity. Yet, with them both being
young along with different experiences, in a way they have the same purpose/motive.
However Salinger focuses on how Holden… While Cisneros emphasizes on Esperanza

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Topic Sentences and
Quotes Directions: Make sure your topic sentences represent your point/claim
for the paragraph (it should be clear which theme and book you discussing in
your paragraph.) It should not be only about the plot of the book or about an
outside source yet. The topic sentences should clearly connect to your thesis
through word glue. (see your research paper reference handout for help with
this and for help with transitions.) You need 4-6 topic sentences with at least
1-2 quotes for each topic sentence that will help prove your topic sentence that
are from the novel and from your outside research. Most of the quotes in your
research paper should be from the novels, with outside sources to support your

(Topic Sentence 1:
Transition + Topic sentence): One reason

•           Quote #1 with correct citation

•           Quote #2 (optional) with correct

(Topic Sentence 2:
Transition + Topic sentence): In

•           Quote #1 with correct citation

•           Quote #2 (optional) with correct

(Topic Sentence 3:
Transition + Topic sentence): However,

•           Quote #1 with correct citation

•           Quote #2 (optional) with correct

(Topic Sentence 4:
Transition + Topic sentence):

•           Quote #1 with correct citation

•           Quote #2 (optional) with correct









The whole time he
dreams of being The Catcher in the Rye because it’s figurative demonstration of
his aspiration to prevent children from “falling”. This indicates the
introduction into their corrupt world. Holden is going through the motions as
he is entering adulthood himself. In other words, he seems to be going into
this downward spiral, or in this case falling. Falling out of
friendships/relationships, conversations, events, and even himself. “I didn’t
have anything special to do, so I went down to the can and chewed the rag with
him while he was shaving. We were the only ones in the can, because everybody
was still down at the game.” (Salinger 4, 15) Explaining how Holden keeps
reminding the reader that he is not a part of what everyone else is doing; that
he is not like most people. “I thought of calling up this guy… Carl Luce, but
I didn’t like him much. So I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the
booth, after about twenty minutes or so, and got my bags and walked over to
that tunnel where the cabs are and got a cab.” (Salinger 9, 35) This quote is a
perfect example of how lonely Holden is. He wanted to call somebody, but can’t
decide because he kept thinking of a reason not to call them (feeling of
disconnection from social life/society).


In the end, Holden
realizes kids have to fall in order to learn how to get up or else they will
depend on everything except themselves. I got pretty soaking wet, especially my
neck and my pants. “My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in
a way; but I got soaked anyway. I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all
of sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near
bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth.” (Salinger 25,
123) And then he is finally genuinely happy. So happy that he can sit in the
rain and be so happy he cries. In a way, I think instead of him seeing the
negativity in everything like he did before, he’s been through so many emotions
that all the pessimism turns into positivity/happiness along with growth and
courage to find his true self again.










3.3 Relationships with
Parents and Siblings

Holden?s parents are
not very much present in his life – except for its

material part. His
father is completely absent from the novel and his mother only

appears once, and talks
only to his sister Phoebe while Holden is hidden in the closet.

The fact that it is
impossible for Holden to find guidance and understanding with his

mother and father can
be explained by Holden?s despise toward the adult world: “He

feels estranged from
his elders because the world is theirs, one they have shaped and

that the does not want
to enter” (Finkelstein 222). Holden is lost and needs advice.

Because he cannot seek
the help of his parents, he has to look elsewhere.

One of his possible
mentors and positive role models could be his brother

D.B., who used to be “a
terrific writer” (Salinger 1) and Holden clearly loves his early

work. However, the
times have changed for D.B.: “D.B. has been Holden?s idol; but

the idol is crumbling,
may even have crumbled, for D.B. has become a movie writer”

(Oldsey 210). At the
time of the novel, D.B. lives in Hollywood, writing screenplays for

popular films. Even
though D.B. is rich and famous, Holden strongly disapproves of his

career choices and he
views D.B. as a sellout, “a prostitute” (Salinger 2).

His younger brother
Allie, with whom Holden obviously had a strong

connection, died when
Holden was twelve. This deeply affected Holden in many ways

and in some ways he
still did not recover from the loss. Michael Cowan even suggests

that “Holden on some
symbolic level seems to feel guilty about Allie?s death” (48).

Having died before he
reached puberty, Allie will never go through the changes that

Holden is going through
and that D.B. already went through. Allie symbolises the purity

of childhood that
starts to be unreachable for Holden – “he stands for whatever is most

authentic in Holden?s
life” (Rowe 80). When Holden has a panic attack and is afraid of

disappearing while
walking on the Fifth Avenue, he begs Allie to save him; he starts


a mantra-like prayer to
his dead brother: “Allie, don?t let me disappear. Allie, don?t let

me disappear. Allie,
don?t let me disappear. Please, Allie” (Salinger 198). Allie is not

only a spiritual power
for Holden, but also his beloved brother. When Holden?s sister,

Phoebe, asks him what
he likes, Holden says “Allie. I like Allie” (Salinger 171). When

Phoebe reminds him that
Allie is dead, Holden reacts angrily: “Just because somebody?s

dead, you just don?t
stop liking them, for God?s sake – especially if they were about

a thousand times nicer
than the people you know that?re alive and all” (Salinger 171).

Holden?s little sister
takes Holden back into the bleak reality, even though he does not

like it.

Phoebe?s character is
quite significant for the novel – after Allie, she is

probably the only
person that Holden trusts and she is probably the only character that is

capable of having a
proper, not “phony” conversation with Holden. And even though

she is just nine years
old and probably not able to understand everything Holden tells

her, in the end she is
the reason why he does not run away from home. The cause of this

might be that she is as
pure and innocent as Allie was and she does not fit in the cruel

adult world. In order
to protect her purity, Holden decides to stay with her.

In The House on Mango
Street, family is one of the central topics. It is

obvious that Esperanza
loves her parents, especially her mother, who is one of the most

visible role models for
Esperanza. In the vignette called “Hairs” (Cisneros, Mango

Street 7), in which
Esperanza recalls the morning ritual of crawling into her parents?

bed, Esperanza?s mother
is depicted as a caring figure, an embodiment of security,

safety and stability.
It is also the mother who encourages Esperanza to study and to be

as independent as
possible: “Esperanza, you go to school. Study hard. … Got to take

care all your own, she
says shaking her head” (Cisneros, Mango Street 91). She also

advises Esperanza not
to be superficial like she was at her age: “Shame is a bad thing,


you know. It keeps you
down. You want to know why I quit school? Because I didn?t

have nice clothes. No
clothes, but I had brains” (Cisneros, Mango Street 91). In

Esperanza?s family, it
is clearly the mother that takes care of the family, whereas her

father is the
breadwinner. His work is probably quite demanding – Esperanza describes

him as “my Papa, his
thick hands and thick shoes, who wakes up tired in the dark, who

combs his hair with
water, drinks his coffee, and is gone before we wake” (Cisneros,

Mango Street 57).
Calling his hands and shoes “thick” points out that he works

manually and because he
“is gone before we wake”, he is not mentioned very often in

the course of the
novel, for he is not present in Esperanza?s life as much as her mother,

who is always at home.
However, Thomas Matchie points out that “Esperanza actually

loves her father,
though as with Holden Caulfield?s he is virtually absent from

the narrative” (69).
The proof that Esperanza?s father is an important figure for her

occurs when he confines
to her that his father, Esperanza?s grandfather, died. The fact

that Esperanza is the
first person in the family that is told the news shows three

important things about
the relationship of Esperanza and her father: the first being that

until that moment, he
did not show his emotions in front of her, as Esperanza admits: “I

have never seen Papa
cry” (Cisneros 56). The second important feature of

the relationship of
Esperanza and her father is that he sees her as a responsible

individual: “Because I
am the oldest, my father had told me first, and now it is my turn

to tell the others”
(Cisneros 56). And finally, even though this situation is completely

new for Esperanza, she
is eager to console her father (as well as herself) the best way

she can, showing him
her love: “I hold Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him”

(Cisneros 57).

As for her siblings,
Esperanza does not mention her brothers very often –

probably because they
do not talk to her and her sisters outside the house. Of all her


brothers and sisters,
she has the closest relationship with her younger sister Nenny,

although it is not
always a loving relationship – sometimes, Nenny is more a burden for

Esperanza than a
partner: “Nenny is too young to be my friend. She?s just my sister and

that was not my
fault… she is my responsibility” (Cisneros, Mango Street 9). Because

Esperanza?s mother has
responsibilities around the house and her father has to work, it

is Esperanza?s duty as
an older sister to take care about Nenny. However, this

responsibility affects
the relationship of the sisters; while Esperanza wants a friend who

would be her equal and
would understand her problems, she has to babysit her baby

sister instead. This
involuntary mothering role of Esperanza may also be one of

the reasons why she
does not want a family of her own and pursues her individuality


Marcienne Rocard claims
that one of the features of Chicana literature is

that it is closely
focused on “human relationships between generations” (57). This is

true in the case of The
House on Mango Street: Esperanza?s relationship with her

parents is very
important for her and her mother is an influential role model for

Esperanza, while
Holden?s parents are virtually absent from his narrative. The situation

is quite opposite with
the brothers and sisters of these two characters: even though

Esperanza has more
siblings than Holden does and she spends much more time with

them, particularly with
her sister Nenny, she does not see her siblings as partners or role

models, which is
different from how Holden approaches Allie and Phoebe and probably

used to approach D.B.
Being the oldest child in the family, Esperanza views her

brothers and sisters
more as a burden, while Holden approaches his siblings as ideals.