Catcher in the Rye

Topics: Meaning of life, Human, Human condition Pages: 3 (1134 words) Published: August 16, 2013
The human condition refers to the inescapable features of being a human being. It is related to those human feelings that search for the meaning of life. It is the saga of events in life that changes people’s perception. In the big picture, the human condition is also the reasons which causes a child to grow and mature into a man. J.D. Salinger explores this condition through his character Holden in his book The Catcher in the Rye and director Fred Schepisi in his film Six Degrees of Separation, through his main character, Paul.

Both texts delve deep into the workings of the human condition. While one boy fights to break apart from the uniformity of society, the other craves to be one with the normality of it. Yet, strangely, both characters follow the same path. They crave to nurture their need to be accepted by society, yet remain apart from it. Holden uses innocence to escape from society while Paul uses imagination as his crutch to shut out the realities of life.

Salinger’s Holden is continuously battling his want for individuality against his distaste in having to conform to society’s norm. His continuous repetition of the word “phony” exemplifies his description and aversion towards the people around him. He says, “ It's full of phonies… and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques.” Schepisi’s Paul feels the same way. Paul being the only African-American character in the film, feels the heat of racism and discrimination from society.

He makes the best of it by claiming to be Sidney Poitier’s son. Poitier was a man who was one of the first African-American actors who successfully surpassed the race barrier, much as Paul is attempting to do now. However, towards the end of the film when the truth about his background has emerged, and Paul is to be arrested, he asks Ouisa to take him to the police station and says: “If they don’t know you’re special, they kill...
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