The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger and Igby Goes Down by Burr Steers are both displayed as rites of passage texts. The respective protagonists of these two texts are Igby Slocumb and Holden Caulfield. These two characters are both on a journey motif, a journey of self discovery in which they both attempt to find meaning in life and understand societies values and attitudes. The two protagonists demonstrate non-conformity and rebel against the apparent hypocrisy present in their respective societies. Hypocrisy can be defined as the difference between illusion and reality, in accordance to society it can be seen as people who are not who they appear to be, people who apply a faÐ*ade. This hypocrisy is present in schools, families, and in people's values and relationships. Igby's non-conformist behaviour is evident through his values and beliefs, his appearance, wardrobe and lighting present whilst viewing the text. Whereas Holden's rebellion is demonstrated through symbolism throughout the text, stream of consciousness and his ideals. Holden and Igby are both on existential journeys, in which they desire to find their place in society.
The hypocrisy present in the corresponding texts of The Catcher In The Rye and Igby Goes Down is manifested through Holden's ideals and Igby's values and beliefs. The language of Igby clearly reveals how he feels towards the concept of hypocrisy, he despises it. Holden loathes people who he says are phony or fake. Igby's hate of hypocrisy can be exhibited through this quote "The captain of the morality team invites his chic to the same party as his wife..." and then later on "embrace your moral hypocrisy, D.H., go for it.". D.H. is Igby's godfather/father and is often seen as Igby's lifeline back into society, D.H. is presented as a wealthy, honest and hard-working man but this is just a faÐ*ade which Igby peals away to reveal the true form of D.H., a fake. These two quotations confirm the way Igby detests the hypocrisy of society, this time evident in a relationship. Holden displays his hate for hypocrisy by the way he is forever commenting on how people are phony and how they put on a faÐ*ade. There are many instances in which Holden explores his animosity towards phonies, for instance he often comments on why the people are applauding a musical performance and cannot understand why people would desire to be actors. In a way Holden is hypocritical himself. Holden says "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible." By Holden admitting to his lying habits, he provides the responder with reason to believe that he applies a faÐ*ade by expressing false pretences. This quotation also provides the audience with reason to think that Holden is not mentally healthy; this literary technique is called foreshadowing. The rebellious attitudes demonstrated by both Holden and Igby represent their attitudes to the concept of hypocrisy. Igby and Holden have similar values and beliefs which reject this idea of illuding reality. Holden rejects all materialistic value and success which corroborates with Igby's attitudes in rejecting the American Dream in which his Godfather, D.H., has achieved. Neither of these two characters view, so called success, the way that the rest of society does.
Another aspect of the respective texts is how the two protagonists display their individuality in order to separate themselves from everyone else, they desire to be unique. This perception of reality is articulated through the symbolism in The Catcher In The Rye and the wardrobe and lighting features utilised throughout the movie Igby Goes Down. Holden's red hunting hat becomes inseparable from the image of Holden. This hat is perceived as a symbol of his uniqueness and personality. The hat is outlandish, and it shows that Holden desires to be different from everyone around him. At the same time, he is very self-conscious about the hat. He always mentions when he is wearing it, and he often doesn't wear it if he is going to be around people he knows. The presence of this red hunting hat mirrors the central idea present in the text. Holden's need for alienation versus his need for companionship, which in a sense is a paradoxical statement, as in order to achieve acceptance through companionship, isolation of one's self must be eliminated. Another key symbol in The Catcher In The Rye is the museum of natural history. Holden mentions how he loves the museum and subconsciously desires society to mirror the ideals of this museum. This is present through the quote "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. . . . Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.". The responder, earlier in the novel, has already experienced that Holden can't deal with conflict, confusion, and change. The museum presents him with a vision of life he can understand, a life that is frozen, silent, and always the same. The museum is perceived as Holden's safe haven from hypocrisy and criticism. What is witnessed in the museum is factual and does
Non Conformity In The Catcher In The Rye And Igby Goes Down
The Catcher in the Rye¬ and Igby goes down, written by JD Salinger and Burr Steers respectively, explore the issue of non-conformity among youth. As Steers’ text is an appropriation of Salinger’s, similar ideas and opinions are presented, however they are affected by both context and medium in the way that they are conveyed, and the composers view on the issues. Despite this, their purpose remains the same, and that is to show the positive and negative sides of non-conformism on the mental and physical health of contemporary youth. The issues used to convey this purpose are conformity, growing up and relationships, however these are all intertwined throughout the two texts.
The most direct way that the composers explore the issue of non-conformity is through their depiction of conformity. In both texts, conformity is generally expressed with negative connotations. In The Catcher in the Rye, people who conform are labelled as ‘phonies’ by the main character and narrator, Holden Caulfield. This is used by Salinger as a motif throughout the novel, and this emphasises Salinger’s dislike for conformists. In Salinger’s opinion, anyone who does not make their own decisions is seen as fake. Another technique used by Salinger, which is unique to the medium of a novel as opposed to a film, is his use of internal monologue and first person narration. The majority of the text is Holden’s thoughts to himself, with his thought process being occasionally interrupted by dialogue and interaction with other characters. This enables the audience to be able to empathise with Holden, and through him, Salinger, by seeing the emotions felt and to understand the narrator. An example of this is “It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.” Through this quote, Salinger has allowed the audience to fully understand the intent of Holden’s actions, and thus, comprehend Salinger’s purpose. In contrary to this, the difference in medium in Steers’ Igby Goes Down does not allow for this vessel of empathy; rather, the audience empathises with the character of Igby by seeing his physical reaction to the events around him. For example, the scene where he begs Sookie to come away with him through a closed door uses the techniques of misc-en-scene and symbolism to show the dramatic effect of the situation on Igby. The audience sees the reactions of Igby and Sookie with only one character on screen at a time, even though they are so close. In this scene, the door acts as a barrier and a symbol that they are far apart, which is representative of their gap in age and why Sookie feels she is more suited to Igby’s brother. Through this issue and the techniques used, Salinger and Steers are able to show the effects of non-conformism on contemporary youth.
Another theme that is explored in both The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down is growing up. Essentially, both of these texts are a rite of passage novel,...
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