Comparing Ideology in Emerson's Self Reliance and Catcher in the Rye

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Non-conformist Ideology in Emerson's Self Reliance and Catcher in the Rye Human beings all around the world are different in many ways. They all have their unique and physical characteristics, as well as different personalities. They each also have different ideas and thoughts on different topics. America is made up of a great amount of diverse people with diverse, even conflicting opinions and ideas. Diversity is a major component of the foundation of our country. The cliché of American as a salad bowl is extremely true. Every person is different and every person in his or her own way makes up a small part of America. Without the diversity of ideas and beliefs of Americans, the nation would not be nearly as successful as we are. A major similarity between Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self Reliance and J.D Salinger's Catcher in the Rye is a non-conformist ideology that both exhibit, and the idea that one should choose their own individuality above confomity. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye portrays Holden as a character who views conformity as evil. Conformist is a word associated with people who dismiss their own ideas and opinions and act the way most others do. In doing so, they believe others will respect them more because they are more like the majority of the population, Holden saw all those who tried to conform to society as `phonies'. He stated, "At the end of the first act, we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they were." (Salinger 126) Almost everyone in the novel acted as phonies according to Holde... ... middle of paper ... ...his own mind. No one should be afraid of what society believes they are or what they believe in. One should decide what is good for him/her, not act according to what humanity as a whole believes is good for him/her. The roles of diversity and uniqueness are a crucial part of society today. Without these qualities being enforced into the American character, people won't produce thoughtful ideas that could help shape America. Both authors illustrate the evil effect of conformity in society and support how one should be self reliant, not phony, and confident in their own beliefs and ideas. Works Cited Emerson, Ralph. "Self-Reliance." The American Tradition in Literature. Eighth Edition. Ed. George Perkins. New York. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

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