Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Huck and Holden go through a series of events from which they are able to learn and grow from. They are able to develop opinions that they did not hold at the beginning of the novels but that they have formed from their travels, and both Huck and Holden are changed by the end of each novel. Although both Huck and Holden’s growth is addressed in the endings, both novels fail to provide a definite future for them. During their journeys, the reader wonders what is going to happen to Huck and Holden once this series of adventures is over and what their outlooks are. The reader is left uncertain of their future when different paths are presented from which the characters have to choose.
In Huck Finn and Catcher in the Rye, the authors bring the main characters back to where they begun which makes their growth from their journeys more evident. At the end of Huck Finn, Aunt Sally is planning to ‘sivilize’ Huck, but Huck has already been ‘sivilized’ once and from his journey down the Mississippi he has viewed the ways of society and has rejected them. At the beginning of the novel, Huck holds conflicting beliefs and is not sure whether he should follow society and its rules. By the end, he has decided from his travels that he has to form his own opinions and make his own decisions because society is not all that many believe it to be. In Catcher in the Rye, Holden holds a cynical view of society and the people in it, but in the end, Holden acknowledges his cynical view by revealing that he is under the care of a psychoanalyst and then says, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody” (Catcher 214). Holden has begun to accept the people in society that he criticized throughout the novel and accepted the fact that he cannot protect children from entering the adult world. This shows that from the various incidents in his travels through New York, he has grown and begun to develop a new view on society. While the changes made by Holden and Huck are apparent in the conclusion of their stories, their futures are left uncertain. At the end of Huck Finn, Aunt Sally plans to ‘sivilize’ Huck while Huck plans to head west.