Non Conformity In The Catcher In The Rye And Igby Goes Down

1133 words - 5 pages

The Catcher in the Rye¬ and Igby goes down, written by JD Salinger and Burr Steers respectively, explore the issue of non-conformity among youth. As Steers’ text is an appropriation of Salinger’s, similar ideas and opinions are presented, however they are affected by both context and medium in the way that they are conveyed, and the composers view on the issues. Despite this, their purpose remains the same, and that is to show the positive and negative sides of non-conformism on the mental and physical health of contemporary youth. The issues used to convey this purpose are conformity, growing up and relationships, however these are all intertwined throughout the two texts.
The most direct way that the composers explore the issue of non-conformity is through their depiction of conformity. In both texts, conformity is generally expressed with negative connotations. In The Catcher in the Rye, people who conform are labelled as ‘phonies’ by the main character and narrator, Holden Caulfield. This is used by Salinger as a motif throughout the novel, and this emphasises Salinger’s dislike for conformists. In Salinger’s opinion, anyone who does not make their own decisions is seen as fake. Another technique used by Salinger, which is unique to the medium of a novel as opposed to a film, is his use of internal monologue and first person narration. The majority of the text is Holden’s thoughts to himself, with his thought process being occasionally interrupted by dialogue and interaction with other characters. This enables the audience to be able to empathise with Holden, and through him, Salinger, by seeing the emotions felt and to understand the narrator. An example of this is “It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.” Through this quote, Salinger has allowed the audience to fully understand the intent of Holden’s actions, and thus, comprehend Salinger’s purpose. In contrary to this, the difference in medium in Steers’ Igby Goes Down does not allow for this vessel of empathy; rather, the audience empathises with the character of Igby by seeing his physical reaction to the events around him. For example, the scene where he begs Sookie to come away with him through a closed door uses the techniques of misc-en-scene and symbolism to show the dramatic effect of the situation on Igby. The audience sees the reactions of Igby and Sookie with only one character on screen at a time, even though they are so close. In this scene, the door acts as a barrier and a symbol that they are far apart, which is representative of their gap in age and why Sookie feels she is more suited to Igby’s brother. Through this issue and the techniques used, Salinger and Steers are able to show the effects of non-conformism on contemporary youth.
Another theme that is explored in both The Catcher in the Rye and Igby Goes Down is growing up. Essentially, both of these texts are a rite of passage novel,...

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