NGE and Catcher in the Rye

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MasterFaster
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NGE and Catcher in the Rye

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Postby MasterFaster » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:17 am

I was sulking today, as I often do, when I was struck with a thought. I’m a massive fan of J. D. Salinger, and so occasionally I muse on his The Catcher in the Rye. Now, it struck me that Holden Caulfield and Shinji have some striking similarities, which I found curious for the fact that one is a mid-century English-American novel, and one is a ninties anime. Namely, their unifying trait is simple - they can’t interact with people, at least not well. This is exposed in interesting ways by each story. For Shinji, they’re clear enough by now, but for Holden, they include bitter cynicism about the motives of people, such as the nuns on the train. When I noted that, I was briefly confused; that wasn’t a particularly similar trait in my mind, so why was I associating them? Then, I realized that Shinji wasn’t so different; we just are recieving the story through a different conceit and point of view. In Catcher, Holden tells us what he thinks about them, so there’s no ambiguity about his mindset. Shinji, on the other hand, says nothing verbatim to the audience, it’s all very subtle. However, it becomes increasingly clear in NGE that Shinji is just as cynical about human nature as Holden; he doesn’t trust a soul either, as much as he clearly wants to. Obviously, they try to deal with their conflict in different ways - Holden wanting to be the “Catcher in the Rye,” that is, deny the whole problem, while Shinji tries to hide away from the problem - but the similarity in mindset is striking.
As well, there are other curious similarities. Parallels can be easily drawn between Antolini and Misato, and between Antolini and Kaworu. For the former, it’s clear enough - they both provide a “stable” setting for their respective protagonist without actually being any more stable than a Jenga tower - while for the latter, it’s much more interesting. They both receive heavy emotional investment from each character, acting as a crutch when the character is falling apart. However, at the worst possible moment, they fail to uphold this (impossible) duty fully - Kaworu with the human pez-dispenser, and Antolini with the whole caressing incident.
Also, father trouble is shared by both characters. In the book, it is only hinted at, but An Ocean Full of Bowling Balls all but confirms the abusive nature of Holden’s father, which is a major factor in his later attempt to commit suicide. While Gendo was not physically abusive, the psychological and emotional damage his actions inflicted were not far different. Speaking of the short story, death lurks in the background of both stories - Allie for Catcher and everyone and sundry for NGE. Both stories never let you forget that “Oh yeah, the person this character loved deeply is dead.” Finally, on a narrative level the protagonists are both very passive; they are both reactionary stories of problems being inflicted, not proactive stories of a hero changing.
I had to get this observation of my chest, so I wrote this all out. For Catcher in the Rye fans, is this nonsensical ramblings, or does this actually make sense? I’d like to hear thoughts.
"A room without books is like a body without a soul." -Marcus Tuillius Cicero
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." -Oscar Wilde

viperzero
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Re: NGE and Catcher in the Rye

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Postby viperzero » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:53 pm

Someone, I forget who, said the biggest similarity between them is how misunderstood/misinterpreted they both are.


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