Catcher in the Rye Compared to Ordinary People

In the novels Catcher in the Rye and Ordinary People, two young male adults struggle with their lives. Holden Caulfield is sixteen and suffers from depression due to his brother, Allie’s death from leukemia, which occurred a few years ago. Similarly, Conrad Jarrett, at the age of eighteen, is also suffering from a dramatic lost. Conrad lost his older brother, Buck, in a boating accident which happened over a year ago. Both these main characters endure emotional distress leading to depression as a result of a sibling’s death, but desperately want to better themselves by moving on from their past and lead a normal life.
      Conrad Jarrett blames himself for his brother’s death and attempts suicide. These traumatic events leave him feeling purposeless in life coupled with no motivation. However, Conrad recovers from his suicide attempt and continues to rebuild his life with the aid of a therapist. He is emotionally and physically healed by the end of the novel.   Conrad at first feels nothing; he is emotionally empty, but to overcome this, he needs to allow himself to feel emotions. “When I let myself feel, all I fell is lousy,” states Conrad during therapy (OP 100). With continued therapy his emotions are regained.   Before his brother’s death, Conrad made an effort in high school and was on the swim team, however his depression caused him to become alienated and he isolated himself from his friends. He also quit the swim team because he needed to devote time to getter better and trying to put his life back together. Conrad in now struggling in school and his grades drop because he cannot concentrate due to recurring nightmares.   He was good in math and helped his peers before his depression and emotional imbalance. Conrad has a close relationship with his father who he talks to and relies on. They develop a bond due to Buck’s death. In contrast, Conrad and his mother do not connect, “we don’t ride the same bus” (OP 98).
      Holden Caulfield also wants to rebuild...