An archetypal hero is respected for their good moral character, maturity, and courage. In J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Diablo Codys Juno there are excellent examples of antiheros, characters who lack heroic qualities, but are still considered to be protagonists. J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye features Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old teenager from New York, who has been expelled from school multiple times. Holden deals with the phoniness of his classmates, roommates, and teachers, and tries to come to terms with the fact that society is superficial and materialistic.
The main character in Diablo Codys Juno is a sixteen year old girl by the name of Juno, who becomes pregnant and now regrets having intercourse in the first place. She suffers from general pregnancy sickness, emotional stress, and public humiliation. The protagonists in both pieces act as antiheros. Both Holden and Juno are ashamed of their actions, as they reflect poorly on their characters. Though they are embarrassed, both protagonists fail to improve their situations and instead behave like antiheros. Holden and Juno demonstrate cowardice, are irresponsible, and try desperately to preserve their childhood nnocence.
Holden and Juno are classified as antiheros because they demonstrate cowardice. Holden acts cowardly when he tries to hide things from his parents. For example, when he got expelled from Pencey Prep because of bad grades and overall bad behaviour, he decided to roam the streets of New York instead of accepting his mistake and facing the consequences. This is illustrated when Holden says, “l decided I’d take a room in a hotel in New York–some very inexpensive hotel and all– and Just take it easy till Wednesday. Then, on Wednesday, I’d go home all rested up nd feeling swell.
I figured my parents probably wouldn’t get old Thurmer’s letter saying I’d been given the ax till maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. “(Salinger 28). This quote demonstrates that Holden knows that his parents will get angered due to his expulsion from school because of his marks and bad behavior. Moreover, it shows that he realizes that he has no confidence in himself to go take responsibility of his actions. A hero would go face his fears no matter what repercussions it may have. Instead, Holden cowardly decides that running away from his problems will better olve them. Like Holden, Juno acts unheroic when she hides the fact that she is pregnant.
For example, instead of suffering the consequences of having unprotected intercourse, resulting in pregnancy, Juno believes that hiding from her problems will further assist her. Juno takes multiple over the counter pregnancy tests to assure that she is actually pregnant, before considering confrontation with her parents. She knows that having a child at a young age is a lot of responsibility, especially because she is a student. In addition, Juno fears what her parents will have to say to her ecause she took a big step in life, and now is trying to back away from it.
A real heroine would without hesitation face her problems as she knows sooner or later she signs of pregnancy is better than personally confronting her parents because it will prevent her from being humiliated. Therefore, Holden and Juno lack the courage and self-confidence to face their problems forcing them to behave in a way that is disliked by society. Holden and Junos cowardice highlights their irresponsibility. Where a hero would take responsibility for their actions and address problems directly, Holden and Juno efuse to face the consequences of their actions.
Holden shows irresponsibility when he lies to please himself. For example, while residing in New York for a few days, he was offered a night with a prostitute. When the elevator operator says, “How old are you, chief? ” Holden answers, “Why? Twenty-two. ” The operator continues and asks Holden if he’s “Innarested in having a good time. ” Holden, who wants “Just a throw,” can be seen as self-indulgent, someone who would lie Just to get the time with the prostitute (Salinger 49). Furthermore, Holden agrees to an interaction with the rostitute because he know that there will be no commitment that comes with it.
Holden commits to this throw with the prostitute because he know that no one but him will be affected. Holden did not think about the outcomes of roaming New York alone or of running away from school. Therefore, he is an irresponsible and antiheroic protagonist. Juno shows irresponsibility when she engages in intercourse. Knowing that intercourse can lead to impregnation or even disease. Despite the fact that Juno and her boyfriend, Bleeker, engage in sex unprotected, Juno thinks that iding the fact the she got impregnated is the best way to go in comparison to truthfully telling her parents.
Juno did not consider the plausible outcomes of being pregnant at the age of sixteen. Being irresponsible, Juno takes multiple pregnancy tests to assure that she is in fact expecting a baby. She also informs her friend before telling her parents, which shows clearly that she is too scared to confront them, making her irresponsible. This shows that Juno lacks sense of responsibility, and she also thinks that what she does is right. Thus, Holden and Juno are both antiheros, rovided that they evade responsibility and are self-absorbed.
Holden and Juno act as antiheros with the goal of preserving their childhood innocence. Holden shows that he is unwilling to grow up when he backed down from participating with the prostitute. For example, when he paid to get a prostitute in his room, all he wanted to do was talk and not engage in any sexual activity. This is demonstrated when Holden asks the prostitute, “Don’t you feel like talking for a while? ” (Salinger 51). This quote shows that Holden thought the prostitute will make him feel better, as it would get things off his mind.
By not engaging in intercourse, Holden he thought that by not engaging in sexual activity he will maintain his innocence by keeping his virginity. By not giving up his virginity to the prostitute, he keeps himself from attachment and maintains his purity. Juno also shows that she is desperately trying to maintain her childhood. Instead of having the baby and Just keeping it or putting it up for adoption, Juno immediately decided to get information about abortion. This is shown when she calls the Women’s Health Clinic’ and gets an appointment to get an abortion.
It is obvious that Juno thought that not having a baby ould not have to accept responsibility for her actions. Though both Juno and Holden behave as antiheros and try to prevent their growing up, in the end, they must be accountable for their actions. Throughout the novel, Holden illustrates why being a child has more benefits than being an adult. Many people criticize Holden because all he does is rant about all his problems, and instead of dealing with it, he Just leaves it behind assuming it will go away. Throughout the movie, Juno demonstrates why being a child is so important: life at a fast pace is unpleasant.
In order to maintain their childhood and to keep their lives simple, both Holden and Juno act immorally. They act as antiheros, individuals who are not good examples for society. Holden and Juno demonstrate cowardice, because they are too scared to face their problems. In their cowardly behaviour, they are irresponsible because they do things to please themselves and do not accept the consequences of their actions. Juno and Holden are self-absorbed, and try desperately to preserve their childhood innocence because they are afraid of growing up and taking responsibility for themselves.
In the end, however, both Juno and Holden grow up. Juno decides to keep the baby and put it up for adoption. This shows that she is taking responsibility for her actions and thinking of the baby before herself. Holden, who returns home and realizes that his sister Phoebe needs him, also shows this sense of responsibility. He considers himself an influence to his sister, and thinks of her safety before his ease. In short, though Holden and Juno behave as antiheros, at the end of their stories, both protagonists begin to grow and show heroic traits. Resources Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. 115. eBook.