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Comparative Essay - Catcher In The Rye Vs. Igby Goes Down

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Comparative Essay

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger and Igby Goes Down by Burr Steers are both displayed as rites of passage texts. The respective protagonists of these two texts are Igby Slocumb and Holden Caulfield. These two characters are both on a journey motif, a journey of self discovery in which they both attempt to find meaning in life and understand societies values and attitudes. The two protagonists demonstrate non-conformity and rebel against the apparent hypocrisy present in their respective societies. Hypocrisy can be defined as the difference between illusion and reality, in accordance to society it can be seen as people who are not who they appear to be, people who apply a faÐ*ade. This hypocrisy is present in schools, families, and in people's values and relationships. Igby's non-conformist behaviour is evident through his values and beliefs, his appearance, wardrobe and lighting present whilst viewing the text. Whereas Holden's rebellion is demonstrated through symbolism throughout the text, stream of consciousness and his ideals. Holden and Igby are both on existential journeys, in which they desire to find their place in society.

The hypocrisy present in the corresponding texts of The Catcher In The Rye and Igby Goes Down is manifested through Holden's ideals and Igby's values and beliefs. The language of Igby clearly reveals how he feels towards the concept of hypocrisy, he despises it. Holden loathes people who he says are phony or fake. Igby's hate of hypocrisy can be exhibited through this quote "The captain of the morality team invites his chic to the same party as his wife..." and then later on "embrace your moral hypocrisy, D.H., go for it.". D.H. is Igby's godfather/father and is often seen as Igby's lifeline back into society, D.H. is presented as a wealthy, honest and hard-working man but this is just a faÐ*ade which Igby peals away to reveal the true form of D.H., a fake. These two quotations confirm the way Igby detests the hypocrisy of society, this time evident in a relationship. Holden displays his hate for hypocrisy by the way he is forever commenting on how people are phony and how they put on a faÐ*ade. There are many instances in which Holden explores his animosity towards phonies, for instance he often comments on why the people are applauding a musical performance and cannot understand why people would desire to be actors. In a way Holden is hypocritical himself. Holden says "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible." By Holden admitting to his lying habits, he provides the responder with reason to believe that he applies a faÐ*ade by expressing false pretences. This quotation also provides the audience with reason to think that Holden is not mentally healthy; this literary technique is called foreshadowing. The rebellious attitudes demonstrated by both Holden and Igby represent their attitudes to the concept of hypocrisy. Igby and Holden have similar values and beliefs which reject this idea of illuding reality. Holden rejects all materialistic value and success which corroborates with Igby's attitudes in rejecting the American Dream in which his Godfather, D.H., has achieved. Neither of these two characters view, so called success, the way that the rest of society does.

Another aspect of the respective texts is how the two protagonists display their individuality in order to separate themselves from everyone else, they desire to be unique. This perception of reality is articulated through the symbolism in The Catcher In The Rye and the wardrobe and lighting features utilised throughout the movie Igby Goes Down. Holden's red hunting hat becomes inseparable from the image of Holden. This hat is perceived as a symbol of his uniqueness and personality. The hat is outlandish, and it shows that Holden desires to be different from everyone around him. At the same time, he is very self-conscious about the hat. He always mentions when he is wearing it, and he often doesn't wear it if he is going to be around people he knows. The presence of this red hunting hat mirrors the central idea present in the text. Holden's need for alienation versus his need for companionship, which in a sense is a paradoxical statement, as in order to achieve acceptance through companionship, isolation of one's self must be eliminated. Another key symbol in The Catcher In The Rye is the museum of natural history. Holden mentions how he loves the museum and subconsciously desires society to mirror the ideals of this museum. This is present through the quote "The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move. . . . Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.". The responder, earlier in the novel, has already experienced that Holden can't deal with conflict, confusion, and change. The museum presents him with a vision of life he can understand, a life that is frozen, silent, and always the same. The museum is perceived as Holden's safe haven from hypocrisy and criticism. What is witnessed in the museum is factual and does

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