The American Dream promoted individualism in a variety of ways including the use of propaganda advertisements. However, these advertisements ironically promoted the purchasing of materialism that ultimately told people to conform. In J.D Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”, the main character, Holden Caulfield responds by openly rejecting the values of materialism that the American Dream offered. In a Post World War II era, propaganda advertisements used by companies highly succeeded. The American Dream of individuality collapsed as big corporations now controlled the materialism that people purchased.
Holden’s response remained rebellious to the system and could not conform to society’s values that were constantly forced on him. “Take most people, they’re crazy about cars…I don’t even like old cars. I mean they never interest me. I’d rather have a goddamn horse”, showed Holden’s response towards society’s popular materialism. The horse represents the image of the past where ideas of conformity aren’t as strong. Even though the American Dreams of wealth and education are given to him, Holden responds negatively towards it. “It’s full of phonies and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddamn Cadillac someday” shows his critical view of education. His response to this collapse of values in individuality differs greatly from other people, presented through behaviour of trying to