In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Hardy and The Cat

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cher in the Rye, bySalinger, the protagonists of both novels Tess and Holden, are portrayed as
being the typical teenager of their time, who both choose to make rash
decisions based upon their naivety. Tess and Holden are both inexperienced
in the world and they are forced to choose their own path to follow. Tess
and Holden are trapped by society’s class system, their struggles with
money, and their own inexperience and naivety, which lead them to make
disastrous choices that inevitably doom them to a tragic end.

Tess and Holden are both caught in society’s class system, and because
they are confused about what is expected of them from society they make
choices based upon their own beliefs. Tess felt inferior to Angel because
his family was financially stable, while her family was not. Tess chooses
to tell Angel about Alec seducing her, and when Angel takes the news poorly
she tells him “I will obey you like your wretched slave, even if it is to
lie down and die” (Hardy 226). Because Tess feels socially inferior, she
is willing to act as a slave. Angel, however, leaves because he sees Tess
as something too low for him. This abandonment is the key to Tess’
downfall. Holden is at the opposite end of the ladder, he has wealth, and
because of his money he feels as though he is better than other people,
while Tess feels as if she is lower than other people. While Holden is in
the cab he makes the choice by of asking Horwitz “you ever pass by the
lagoon in Central Park? Down by the Central Park South?” (Salinger 81).

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Holden is asking the cab driver, Horwitz a question that he knows will not
have an answer to.

When Horwitz does not respond, Holden has a feeling of superiority over him
because Holden perceives Horwitz as a mere cabbie who doesn’t compare to
himself and his social class. Tess and Holden are opposite ends, and in
this instance they approach similar situations completely differently
because of where they stand in society. Society and the class divisions of
their time influence them both. Tess makes the choice of telling Angel of
her previous sexual relation and because of it Angel tragically leaves her,
and Holden makes the choice of mocking those who he feels to be socially
inferior, eventually ends up tragically alone and institutionalized.

Tess was a beautiful English peasant whose sole purpose in life was
to marry a wealthy man so that her family would become financially stable,
while Holden’s family already had wealth, but he felt as though money made
people phony. Tess reluctantly made the tragic choice of marrying Alec for
his money and because he told her that Angel was never going to return.

After Angel returns from Brazil, he immediately goes to see Tess and
Her neck rose out of a frill of down, and her well-remembered
of dark-brown hair was partially coiled up in a mass at the back
of her head and partly hanging on her shoulder-the evident
result of haste. (Hardy 371)
Tess is a different person from when Angel last saw her, and now Tess has
become a gold digger who only married Alec for his money. Tess is no
longer happy and the arrival of Angel only reminds Tess of the happiness
she is missing. Tess and Holden are similar to one another in that they
both realize that money doesn’t bring them happiness, and they both can be
happy without having wealth.

Even though Holden doesn’t believe in God, he willingly gave two nuns ten
dollars for their collection, but then he realized
After they left, I started getting sorry that I’d only given
them ten bucks for their collection. But the thing was, I’d made
that date to go to a matinee with old Sally Hayes, and I needed
to keep some dough for the tickets and stuff. I was sorry
anyway, though. Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue
as hell (Salinger 113).

Holden says “Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell”
shows that he really doesn’t like to have money because it makes him more
upset than joyful. Tess and Holden have similar beliefs in that money
isn’t everything. Tess makes the disastrous choice of marrying Alec, which
eventually leads to the tragic end of both their lives, and Holden makes
the choice of


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