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Ellen Foster and The Catcher In The Rye

Ellen Foster by Kayne Gibbons and The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger have some elements that are similar. These elements are used to express the development of Holden and Ellen throughout each novel. One of these elements is characterization. According to Dictionary. com, characterization is the description of qualities or peculiarities. Characterization is mostly used in three ways in each novel; Style of Clothes, Style of Speech, and the Search for a Home. These characterization elements represent the development of Holden Caulfield and Ellen Foster.

The characterization method that is used in each novel is their style of dressing or their outer appearance. The way a person dresses shows the person’s personality, class status, and how a person acts. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield dresses in a very casual way. In the 1950’s many people wore suits everyday but Holden is the “revolutionary” type and dresses very different from the rest. This illustrates that Holden doesn’t really care much about the way of life but only his big ideas.

For example, Holden Caulfield always wears his red hunting hat throughout the novel. He also wore it backwards which represents that in a way, he was also backwards. His whole life is messed up, ex) drinking beer, smoking, failing out of schools, hiring hookers, and wandering of with his big exaggeration. In Ellen Foster, Ellen dresses a bit differently. She dresses in other people’s clothes, mostly because of her poverty. This represents Ellen in search for her own identity. She uses other people’s thing because she doesn’t have them herself.

When she gives the clothes back, she finally recognizes who she really is. An example would be when she borrows a dress for her mama’s funeral from Dora. These are some ways in which symbols are used in each novel. The second characterization method that is used to express the development of Holden and Ellen is the style of their speech. The style of speech is the way a person talks in their everyday lives. The way a person talks can show others how literate or illiterate you are, in what mood you are, etc.

Holden Caulfield uses lots of what we call “bad language” or “swearing” for short. This demonstrates that he is in a way, a revolutionary type of guy. This is known for a fact since Holden dropped out of many schools and failed many times. Ellen Foster uses simple language to narrate her life. Ellen doesn’t have huge vocabulary. She speaks the everyday language as people do to their friends. She speaks as if the words start to come out of her brain right away. This represents her as a simple, plain but at the same time complicated girl.

This method is used for many people. Finally, the third characterization method that is used to develop Holden and Ellen is their search for a home. Many people are today without homes to live in and there are also that are in a state of depression. This symbol is divided into two parts. One part is when the search for a home is something more physical, such as a family, a house to live in, etc. The other part is when a person is stressed or confused, and needs to find a way out; to search for a home in their minds.

The first part is expressed in Ellen Foster. Ellen is always looking for a place to stay throughout the whole book. Ever since Ellen runs away from her home, her father, she tries to live with many types of people, and tries to find a family that she will love. For example, she goes to live with hear aunt’s and Dora’s house, Roy’s and Julia’s house, and also her grandmother’s house. Holden represents the second part of this method. Holden is depressed, always confused in himself, and never knows how to get on with his life.

He is always searching for something that will identify himself so he can be happy with. In these two fantastic novels, there were many more methods in which characterization is expressed. At the end of each novel, Holden and Ellen finally come to understand that they will be happy, or they will find their homes in themselves. They realize that they are the ones that decide what to do with their lives, that they should never give up. These methods definitely expressed the development of Holden Caulfield and Ellen Foster.

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