The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down Present a Reflection of the Values of Their Societies. Analyse How the Composers of These Texts Explore This Idea.

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J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Burr Steers representation, Igby Goes Down are two texts that present a similar perspective toward the rejection of society’s values, mainly through themes. The two texts are of comparable nature and have distinct similarities and differences. Similarities between the texts include the rites of passage genre, the themes and the ideas conveyed about individuals in society. Both composers explore the themes of the corruption of the American dream, loss of innocence and materialism through the predominant concept of non-conformity. There are also key differences such as the context and media types of the two texts. There are also the respective literary and film techniques which, while following the journeys of two rebellious teenagers, gives the reader a deeper connection to and understanding of the protagonist, and in turn the purpose of the text. In order to understand the importance of the loss of the American dream to both texts, one must first understand the two different contexts. The Catcher in the rye was set in the 1950’s, just after World War II, when the ideas of a consumer society and the American dream were greatly valued. As a time of conservatism, affluence and materialism, society believed that status, power and wealth lead to ultimate happiness. This is where Salinger explores the corruption of such an idea. Holden believes that all the people around him are “phoneys” because they forfeit their morality to fit in with the conformities of society. Salinger then introduces readers to Holden, narrating the story from a mental health sanatorium; a clear result of his rebellion against these attitudes and beliefs. It is through the stream of consciousness style of writing, that he also reinforces the repression of individuality, brought about by a conservative and restricted society. However, in Igby Goes Down, this technique of directing an audience to see things in a particular way is replaced by a voice over....
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