Society: The Classroom for Behavior

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Society: The Classroom for Behavior If a young boy were to open a gift of clothing from his Aunt John on his birthday more than likely his reaction would not be that deemed acceptable by American society because his response of "EWW, Clothes" would be considered churlish. The socially acceptable response evoked from mommy would be, "Thank you for my present Aunt John." This is only one of the many social mores that our society teaches children when they are at a young age. Other mores most have learned or taught through out years have been which side of the plate the fork goes on, opening doors for women and seniors and saying "Please and Thank You". Unfortunately, most of these mores are taught to curb a child's innocence and natural behavior. For instance, if a young boy were playing by himself, society would applaud his creativity. However, if an adult or senior citizen were to do the same society would think that they were eccentric or senile. One reason that The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a classic is that no matter whether it's the society of the 1940's or that of present day, we continue to teach children that acts of innocence and natural behavior are regarded as unacceptable as one grows older. Thus, we are left with a society that is a classroom filled with adults who suppress a child's pastimes. If one saw an adult walking down the street singing a show tune or humming the latest top 40's hit, society would usually view that individual as weird or peculiar. The character, Holden, sees a child following his parents on a busy Broadway street. The child "…kept singing and humming…in a pretty little voice."(115) Holden comments on how the child's parents paid no attention to him. If the child's parents had been keeping close tabs on him then the reader is to think that the child would have been walking in an orderly fashion closely behind his parents. Near the end of the paragraph, Holden tells how seeing the child singing on the street made him feel better and not quite as depressed. The fact that it made Holden feel happy is because this innocence and natural behavior is accepted, often times praised, and many times enjoyed in little children. It shows their creativity in the ability that they can make up games to play by themselves or make up an imaginary friend, and Holden is the only character in the novel that intuitively recognizes this.
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