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The Art of Literary Thieving: The Catcher in the Rye, Moby-Dick, and Hamlet By Willi ...

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The Art of Literary Thieving:

conflicting characters, Shakespeare was the first to dramatize the forces that he believed were involved in shaping the outcome of every event within this world. Melville then strove to equal that accomplishment, for he was determined to show that an American writer could reach Shakespeare's literary heights. In the culminating three chapters of Moby-Dick, as Ahab and the white whale clash in their epic battle to the death, Melville fashioned, out of his own rich materials, what he believed was a more revealing illustration of those identical forces that he discovered were shaping the events within Hamlet's world. Salinger, in turn, striving to claim a place among the world's best writers, was strongly influenced by what he found within the two earlier works. In the carrousel scene at the end of The Catcher in the Rye, as Phoebe goes around and around, Salinger offers his own view of the inextricable forces underlying the workings of reality, a view that emerges out of what is perhaps the most elaborately crafted symbolic novel in American literature. The shared goal of these three authors was not simply one of allowing us, their general audience of viewers and readers, to enter into and live for a moment within the vibrant fictional worlds they had fashioned for us. They strove, instead, as they crafted each work, to create an intensified vision of reality that would have a ring of truth to it so clear that it would startle us afterwards by resonating convincingly with the actual world we sensed around us.

This book has been written to show how each of these authors succeeded in crafting an impressive accumulation of gathered materials into an imaginative experience that has the power to alter our perception of reality.