Pleasantville vs. Catcher in the Rye

Topics: White, Color, Symbol Pages: 3 (871 words) Published: October 21, 2014
Comparison Essay

Whether it’s a book, movie, TV show, or music, the themes are recognized universally. Most of these themes are shared amongst these works. For instance, looking at the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, and the movie Pleasantville, directed by Gary Ross, several similarities can be called out. Throughout the book, sixteen year old Holden Caulfield displays what his life is like after being kicked out of boarding school. He often speaks of people’s phoniness and how he dislikes it. In Pleasantville, a teenage boy named David and his sister Jennifer are put into a TV show called Pleasantville and are transformed into a 1950s character in black in white. There they become Bud and Mary Sue. Throughout the movie, these two characters change the lives of Pleasantville citizens by exposing them to things they’ve never known of, and even expose them to real color. The Catcher in the Rye and Pleasantville share similarities in themes, characters, and symbolism that is essential for the audience’s comprehension of the works.

Symbolism is a great technique used both The Catcher in the Rye and Pleasantville. Color can be identified as the main symbol of both works. Many colors are used for symbolism in The Catcher in the Rye, but the main colors it focuses on is the color white, which symbolizes purity and innocence, and red, which symbolizes protection and redemption. In the novel, white is like the pureness of the early stage of life, meaning childhood. For example, when Holden saw the snow he described it as being “pretty as hell” and that when they played in the snow it was “very childish”. Holden giving his nine year old sister Phoebe his red hunting hat is a symbol of protection and her giving it back to him represents salvation from the great fall Mr. Antolini warned Holden about. In Pleasantville, black and white also represent innocence and purity, and color represents the progress of change. At first, everything in...
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