English Non Conformity Essay

Submitted By CO28
Words: 1278
Pages: 6

These two texts, although they are displayed through different contexts of society, both portray the journey that is adolescence and the will to not conform. Both protagonists Holden Caulfield and Igby Slocum are on a journey of discovery of one’s self. Despite the difference in medium, each composer successfully exemplifies the will to rebel against the social norm and the corruption of adults that surround the youth of society. Steers through several cinematic techniques and Salinger by his abnormal writing structure and literary expressions, the two composers are able to successfully portray the issues surrounding the corruption of the American dream and teenage rebellion. Despite the 50 years of contextual difference, each text explores the same values and concepts of adolescent growth through a very similar, non-conforming protagonist.
‘The Catcher in the Rye’, set in the post-war period of the mid 1940’s thoroughly examines the deep pressures of society to conform to the lying, phony nature of the adult world. During this time, the youth of society have no opinion and they are required to obey what they are told of adults at all times. Salinger’s characterisation of his protagonist Holden Caulfield defies this concept in his journey through adolescence to discover his identity and place within the social order. The depressed, cynical nature of Holden emphasises his struggle through this journey and inability to discover himself. Although the content of the novel is based around the idea of non-conformity but as is the novel itself as it rebels against the traditional, sequential writing structure of its time. This non-linear writing sequence combined with Salinger’s controversial use of sex, suicide and drugs combine to form a piece of writing that also refuses to obey social norm. Salinger’s use of Holden as a narrator, although possibly unreliable, helps to exemplify the corruption and phoniness of the adult world Holden is surrounded by. Despite the potential bias in this first person narrative, it is the only viewpoint as a reader that we obtain, so we can recognise the possible untruthfulness in what Holden portrays but we are required to trust in this viewpoint that we receive. The adult controlling period of the mid-20th century is challenged by Salinger in this novel as he brings to light the will of the youth to rebel against the phoniness and corruption of the adult world.
Burr Steers reflects many contextual concerns in his film Igby Goes Down. Through film techniques, many concerns are conveyed. Unlike the Catcher in the Rye, Igby Goes Down is in a modern day 21st century context. Despite the fifty years that have passed, the same issues that Salinger proposed are still very apparent now in the 21st century. Steer’s constant use of the colour red, a dominating colour, on Mimi expresses the power she obtains over the family and the control adults have over society. Mimi’s power only fades once she is killed by her sons, the powerful red as seen on her lipstick and dress, eventually fades into a light pink, a subtle demonstration from Steers to show Mimi’s loss of power. The corruption of the American Dream, is represented through the characterisation of DH. In the scene where Igby walks in on DH with his pants down is one of the most confronting in the film. This is extremely confronting as the camera shot in a full frontal shot of DH’s power. As DH reaches into his pocket the camera focuses on his hand movements as he rips out a bill to pay for Igby’s silence just like many other scenes in the film. This is exemplifies the adult power and abuse of this power in society. Also conveyed in the film is a loss of innocence. This is most obvious in the scene where Jason reaches his mental breakdown. The close up on Jason’s face is of complete destruction, of a man who has been defeated by the pressures of society. On the other hand a high angle mid shot of the seemingly emotionless child recognises the loss of