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A Comparison Of Attitudes Towards Life In "The Catcher In The Rye"And "Dead Poet's Society"

1491 words - 6 pages

In this world, there are many attitudes towards life that one can possess. This attitude can range from nihilism to ignorant idealism depending on the human being. The works entitled "Dead Poets' Society" and "The Catcher in the Rye" hold a variety of stances on life. However, the novel, "The Catcher in the Rye" mainly paints the mind-set of idealism because it is about an adolescent named Holden Caulfield who is highly idealistic. The novel goes on to tell about how Holden cognizes that the reality of life is not as idealistic as he perceives. Therefore, he pretends to be cynical. Meanwhile, the movie, "Dead Poets' Society" presents an assortment of attitudes towards life which generally range from pessimism to idealism depending on the character. Thus, through watching the movie and reading the book, one can witness an assortment of outlooks to life in general.Holden Caulfield narrates "The Catcher in the Rye" in a cynical tone. To many juveniles, this protagonist might appear as a misanthropic person because his tone and wording proposes that he thinks people are lousy and fake. Nevertheless, Holden's misanthropical narration throughout the novel is just a façade that conceals his idealistic thoughts about the world. In reality, Caulfield believes that the world is beautiful and he holds great merit in innocence and childhood (For example, when he watches Phoebe sleep, Holden comments on how children look fine while they slumber with their mouths wide open, although adults who sleep in such a manner appear lousy, pg. 159). Holden cognizes that the reality of life is not as quixotic as he perceives. He is aware of the existence of superficiality, corruption and hypocrisy in the adult world. Nonetheless, Holden is disinclined to accept that he is surrounded by the spitefulness and flaws of life. Therefore, as a result of not wanting to lose his ideal standpoint, he coins a shell of pseudo cynicism to protect his naive perceptions. He constantly announces throughout the novel that people are "phonies." For example, on pg 151, when referring to the superficial behavior of his ex-girlfriend, Sally and her adult friends, Holden says, "All of them swimming around in a goddam pot of tea and saying sophisticated stuff to each other and being charming and phony." Caulfield just pretends to be cynical. If he were a real misanthropist, he would just know it; he wouldn't be constantly reminding himself of how horrible people are. In sum, Holden represents an idealistic outlook towards existence that can be misread as cynical.In the movie, "Dead Poets' Society", the headmaster Mr. Nolan and Neil Perry's father represent a realistic and pessimistic combinative view towards life. The school, Welton Academy is founded on conventional ideas and excellence. Its raison d'être is to provide its students with strict preparation for the Ivy League. Mr. Nolan and Mr. Perry are realists. These men believe that adolescent boys cannot reason properly...

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