Malik BellPeriod 2Compare/Contrast11/17/17The SignificantMeaningIn significanceJ.
D. Salinger and Nichols, they both made good stories and inspired people indifferent ways, but if we look deeper in the stories we start to see why theywere written in a way most can’t understand. While Salinger and Nichols portrayBen and Holden as cynical people in the face of reality, their goals in lifediffer because Holden wants to live in a society without conformity while Benwants to live life the way he wants to live it, regardless of how the societylives. Although if we look through Bens life perspective we tend to see that welive that way, we divert into different paths ignoring how other people livetheir life instead of breaking down and worrying what the world has come to.
In comparison, Benand Holden are very innocent individuals when it comes to adulthood and facingreal world problems. In chapter 13, Holden manages to accept an offer for a prostitutefrom the elevator guy. Holden was trying to avoid having an affair with theprostitute but because he felt depressed at the time, he wanted to talksomeone, “the trouble was, and I just didn’t want to do it. I felt moredepressed than sexy, if you want to know the truth. She was depressing….” In the same manner, Ben is innocent when itcomes to the adult world.
Ben reveals that the adulthood is perverted and peoplehave high expectations, especially when he graduated from college.Comparatively, while both authors portray rebellious characters in differentsocieties, the characters have a bigger and deeper meaning to the story. In theworks of Salinger, he portrayed Holden as a very rebellious character in thebeginning of the book. Saying that he got kicked out of prep schools, we knowthat prep schools do not expel their students that often, so how is Holdengetting kicked out of school so much? Holden is a rebel to society as well, hecalls everyone he ever encounters a phony and at the same time he is busyseparating himself from the “norms” of the society that he is a part of.
Inother words, he is strongly against conformity. He believes that if you conformyou’re a phony. This shows that Salinger portrayed Holden as a rebelliousperson in general. Identically, Ben; the one in the Graduate; showed his rebellious ways when having the affair withMrs. Robinson while dating Elaine. Nichols had a powerful way of showing theaudience this; Mrs. Robinson isn’t happy with her marriage which is causing herto drink too much and carry on affairs and Ben happened to be there. “Wait aminute.
So you wouldn’t say you loved him.” “Not exactly”. This shows that Mrs.
Robinson was ready to move on, knowing she should have divorce with her man butshe doesn’t and decides to have an affair. Ben is also rebellious for followingthrough with Mrs. Robinson’s seducing techniques while having a relationshipwith Elaine. Therefore, Ben and Holden share very similar things but differ ina way only some can pick out. When we conform wetend to lose who we really are, so it is best for us to isolate once in awhile; Holden really hated the thought of conformity, he came across as a simpleguy but yet complicated. J.D Salinger portrayed Holden as a sensitive guyalthough when he speaks he is cynical about it.
In chapter 25, Holden went toPhoebe’s school and saw a lot of “Fuck you”(222,Salinger) he tried to rub a fewof them out and some of them came out. But when he went down another fleet ofstair-cases he saw another “Fuck you” on the wall and this time it wasscratched on and Holden wasn’t able to get rid of it. He couldn’t hide thisnegativity from the children at this school, especially from Phoebe. Afterseeing all the negativity he wanted some peace, so he decided to go the museumwhere the mummies were located. Then all of sudden there was another “Fuck you”on the wall. This shows that no matter where Holden goes there will always benegativity and you can’t escape reality no matter how hard you try to.
Antolini,someone who helped Holden get through the life crisis he was going through andsupplied him a bed and a fatherly like figure. “Among other things, you’ll findthat you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and evensickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll beexcited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubledmorally and spiritually as you are right now.”(Chapter 24). Salinger portrayedthe society Holden lives in as a sickened world, that everyone is crude, but tofind out he’s not the only one to see the world the way he does.
Benlived his life in a very interesting way. First of all, he wanted freedom andnothing else; he didn’t like that his parents kept bugging him about what hewas going to do after he graduated because he had no idea what he wanted to do.In the beginning of the film one of the ladies asked him “….I meant with yourfuture…your life….what are your plans” Ben replied “Well-that’s a little hardto say”.
This shows that he is confused and wants to do something differentthan what he went to school for. The scene after this was him with the fishtank. The fish tank represents that he is locked up in his own life and cannotbe freed. He became restless and depressed based on the fact that he is trappedand can no longer escape. Although he lives in a big house with a kindcommunity, he feels imprisoned by his circumstances. He feels like no adult canconnect to him because they are all phonies; they’re plastics.
Plastics, thematerial, are easily distributed and easily sold. Plastics, the phony people inhis community, behave like a fake society. They behave as if they have nofreedoms. Everyone is doing the exactsame thing and following society standards. They are going to high school, college, then they start their career.
Ben didn’t want to do that. He did go to high school and then college butdidn’t pursue his career. His only dream was to marry a beautiful girl. Whilepeople in Ben’s society did get married, Ben pursued freedom by marrying Elainenot in the way society expects people to get married, but in the way thatpleased him. Afterreading and watching The Catcher in theRye and The Graduate; The Graduate, is the best way tosuccess. First of all, the way Ben lives his life is similar to how we livetoday.
Ignoring issues that does not involve you but if they do we would liketo know everything. Although he also hates the thought of conformity, he believesthat you can conform or live the life you want to live it and you should beable to live it. Keep in mind the film takes place in the 1960s which means,drugs, sexual favors, and anti-war demonstrations. Being Ben in this situation,the society is already pushing him to conform but he still finds a way to livethe way he wants to live it. This shows that we have the power to choose whatwe want to do in life and this is the best way to success.