The “Hands” in Winesburg, Ohio and The Catcher in the Rye
This paper concerns the images of hands in the two, great American novels: Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Under the high possibility that Salinger might have had Anderson's work in mind when Salinger created the famous scene of Antolini's apartment, this paper focuses on the two writers' depictions of the hand-images and their thematic implications. Anderson's opening story “Hands” deals with how innocent sexuality and romantic idealism represented by its hero are misunderstood and devalued by the power of socialized, standardized sexuality. In a different way Salinger creates a similar situation where the possibility of human contact and true communication is blocked and limited by social norm of sexuality and gay potential. The two writers' successful uses of the hand-image turn out to be an important vehicle to convey their common literary messages about how human contact and emotional fulfillment are essential elements for utopian possibility.
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