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English Critical Response Coming Of Age Compare And Contrast Of Catcher In The Rye, Yolgnu Boy And Growing Up

806 words - 3 pages

The concept of coming of age is defined through a process of growing up, and reaching a stage of physical and mental maturity. This process is depicted through a journey of development; from childhood to adulthood, and is portrayed as both a challenging and liberating experience. The three texts, Stephen Johnson’s film Yolgnu Boy (2000), J.D. Sallinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye (1951), and Mai’s poem Growing Up (2008), explore the concept of coming of age in conjoint ways. In all texts, the concept of coming of age is constructed as a journey, especially where the protagonists of Yolgnu Boy and Catcher in the Rye, Lorrpu and Holden, undergo challenging experiences, which lead to liberation.Yolgnu Boy follows three boys that undergo both a physical and mental journey. This journey is portrayed by the composer as a challenging and liberating experience, and is conveyed through a juxtaposition of the opening and concluding scene. The visual metaphor of the clap of thunder at the beginning of the film is symbolic of transition to adulthood and foreshadows the challenging physical and mental journey Lorrpu, Botj and Milika will evidently undertake. The loud diegetic music and the harsh flash of lightning represents the conflicting dreams of all three friends, and depicts growing up as a challenging experience. The juxtaposition, conveying transition through journey, is created, during the final Men’s ceremony scene, whereby Lorrpu is liberated from his harsh experiences and is reintroduced by himself as a “Yolgnu man”. The nod from Dawu in this scene, is symbolic of the tribal acceptance of Lorrpu, and represents the tribe’s understanding of how he has been shaped by his challenging and liberating journey, on the path to adulthood.Despite difference in both culture and context, Yolgnu Boy shares similarities with Catcher in the Rye, which explores a personal response to an highly challenging, yet liberating journey undertaken by Holden Caulfield. Unlike Lorrpu, Holden is a cynical protagonist, who questions the importance of growing up. Through his journey however, he quickly comes to the conclusion that coming of age is inevitable. Prominent among the techniques in the novel is the symbolism of, “where do the ducks go when the lake freezes?”, which is a metaphor for Holden’s situation. This metaphor also serves as a recurring motif, where Holden continually revisits this question, while pondering where he...

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