Throughout History and Modern Day Texts and Films

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Throughout history and modern day texts and films, archetypes have been used to add significance and meaning to literature by allowing us to understand patterns of human behaviour. Looking at the archetype of the outsider, the reader speculates the outsider’s purpose to challenge the values and the assumed expectations of society; such as the actions of society to initiate change in the archetype? The “novel catcher in the rye” by jd Salinger, and the film “Gran Torino” by Clint eastwood both explore the issues isolate the archetype from society. By analysing the most captivating aspects of the outsider, we come to realise that we must accept and respect one another’s differences and the individual need to be more indulgent and understanding of society in order to not be segregated from it.

In both the “catcher in the rye” and gran Torino “, the outsiders endeavour to offer their own social commentary by criticising the patronising and flamboyant world they see. Notice for instance Holden Caulfield on top of the hill looking down at the football game, symbolising his seclusion from society, “practically the whole school except for me was there, and the scrawny and faggy on the Saxon hill side.”Holden’s colloquial speech makes him approachable to the audience and his use of obscene language assists us in recognising his disregard for the value of innocence and purity.

In Gran Torino, however, the emotionally confused “Walt Kowalski” a Vietnam War veteran is quick to reveal his hatred for different ethnic races, predominantly those of Asian descent or as he calls “gooks”. “why the hell did they have to move into this neighbourhood” the word “they” highlights Walt’s segregation from his neighbourhood and the “gooks” that are moving in .For Walt the moving in of all the foreigners makes him feel like an outsider. The level of insecurity that is portrayed by Walt is the fundamental reason he has become an outsider; whereas Holden’s deliberate segregation from...
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