black boy vs

Black Boy is an autobiography of Richard Wright’s early life in the south

before he reached Chicago. The Catcher in the Rye is a fictional book who’s

main character, Holden Caulfield, finds maturity on a trip home. The main

characters in Black Boy, by Richard Wright, and The Catcher in the Rye, by

J.D. Salinger, share similar and different qualities.

Richard Wright and Holden Caulfield have many similarities. They

both have a passion for reading. Richard reads anything he can get his hands

on, including racist newspapers. Holden enjoys reading books by his

brother, D.B., and Ring Lardner. Neither gets along with teachers very well.

Aunt Addie and Richard Wright had several incidents in Sunday school.

Holden Caulfield had problems with all his teachers, resulting in his

expulsion. Both boys have had harmful, addictive habits. Richard was a

drunkard at the age of six. Holden was a heavy smoker. Mr.Wright and

Mr.Caulfield had many similar characteristics.

While Richard and Holden had many similarities, the differences are

many. Richard Wright is a black man. Holden Caulfield is white. Richard

has an intense urge to learn. Holden has a different opinion on learning; he

finds it dreadfully boring. Richard couldn’t stay in school due to his

constant travel and shift of residence. Holden, on the other hand, was

constantly expelled from school because he failed most his classes. Richard

had only one parent growing up. Holden had both, whether they were there

for him or not. Richard and Holden had many different qualities.

Richard Wright had a rough childhood. Abandoned by his father at a

young age, Richard was left to fend with his mother and younger brother.

Richard had an abusive youth; he was almost beaten to death at age five.

His family moved frequently, to and from his Grandma’s house. Grandma’s

strict Christian way of life took it’s toll on Richard, as he rebelled

authority. Growing up Richard was tormented with the fact that he’s black.

As Richard was quoted, ‘”This was the culture from which I sprang. This

was the terror from which I fled.”’ (Wright 257)

On the other hand, Holden doesn’t like to talk about his family, but

we get the hint that it was strict. As Holden said, ‘”... my parents

have two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.

They’re nice and all, but touchy as hell.”’ (Salinger 1)

Richard had been moved from school to school over many years and

didn’t get a full year of schooling until he was older. When he was

Richard learned a number of obscenities from the older boys at school. He

learned to prove himself when he moved to Greenwood by fighting the

school bully. In middle and high school, Richard did very well in his

studies. He was elected valedictorian of his class. ‘”At the beginning of

school term I read my civics and English and geography volumes through

and only referred to them when in class,”’ remarked Richard. (Wright 133)

Whereas, Holden Caulfield wasn’t a big fan of school, teachers, or

homework. He was expelled from his private school because he was failing

four out of five classes. “’If I’m not mistaken, I believe you had some

difficulty at the Whooton School and at Elkton Hills, too,”’ said Holden’s

teacher, Mr. Spencer. (Salinger 13)

Richard was partially brought up by his Grandma, who was an avid

Christian. He didn’t really believe all the church stuff, though. ‘”You

Granny, if I ever saw an angel like Jacob did, then I’d believe.”’(Wright

117). Richard was bored with Sunday school and played hooky from church

with his friends. He was baptized, but only because he didn’t want to risk

embarrassing his mother in front of the whole neighborhood.

Similarly, Holden’s religious beliefs were to the extent of his foul

vocabulary. He went to chapel at school, but didn’t care too much. Holden

thought it was all very phony, and Holden didn’t like phony things or

people. ‘”He told us we ought to think of Jesus as our buddy and all.

killed me.”’(Salinger 17)

Richard Wright and Holden Caulfield led very different lives, yet they

both suffered from the same discrimination. Richard was discriminated

because of the color of his skin; Holden because of his age. The two

characters were very complex. In conclusion, Richard and Holden were very

alike and very different.

Category: Book Reports