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            The novels Ordinary People, by Judith Guest, and The Catcher in the Rye, by J. Salinger, explore periods of time in the lives of two teenage boys who are both changing because of the people around them. Ordinary people look into the life of Conrad Jarret, a teenage boy who lives with his mother and father. The Catcher in the Rye deals with Holden Caulfield, a seventeen-year-old boy who is returning home from school to his parents and younger sister. These two characters have some differences yet similar situations with which to deal. Conrad's and Holden's thoughts and actions are influenced greatly by the deaths of their brothers, by their parents, and by the female figures in their lives.
             Conrad and Holden have a very similar factor in their lives; they each lost a brother to death. Their brothers, however, affected them differently. Conrad's brother, Jordan, died in the same boating accident, which Conrad survived. Holden's brother Alie died of leukemia. Conrad feels guilty about Jordan's death because Conrad survived the accident. He feels that Jordan should have survived the accident instead of himself. Conrad's therapist, Dr. Berger, describes Conrad as the not-so-perfect kid, who survives the accident, while Jordan is described as the perfect kid who did not survived it. Berger feels that this is what is causing Conrad's incredible guilt, which at one point drove Conrad to attempt suicide. Holden does not feel guilty about his brother's death, but rather feels anger. He feels it was unfair that someone as honorable and pure as Allie was taken out of the world prematurely. Both boys feel very sad about their brothers" deaths and suffer from guiltiness and angriness.
             Conrad and Holden losses a great deal of confidence throughout the course of the novels. Conrad loses self-assurance in himself as is evidenced through his falling grades, declining swimming, and attempted suicide. Holden loses more confidence in other people than in himself.


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