Non-Conformity in The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down Essay

Non-Conformity in The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down Essay

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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 und...


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...ist, has trouble adapting. This is similar to the character of Igby, who just needs a “sunny day” to bring up his spirits. This shows Steers’ perspective on how a non-conformist can be incapable to live in a conformist society which fails to recognise individual needs, which is typical of contemporary youth. Through exploring the issue of relationships, Salinger and Steers are able to convey their ideology on non-conforming youth.
Although Salinger and Steers present their values and attitudes on non-conformity in different mediums and in a different context, they share a similar ideology which remains relevant throughout society and will for many years to come. Through various film and literary techniques, they have been able to effectively convey their purpose to the audience; to demonstrate the positive and negative sides of non-conformity of contemporary youth.

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