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Malik Bell

Period 2

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Compare/Contrast

11/17/17

The Significant
Meaning

In significance
J.D. Salinger and Nichols, they both made good stories and inspired people in
different ways, but if we look deeper in the stories we start to see why they
were written in a way most can’t understand. While Salinger and Nichols portray
Ben and Holden as cynical people in the face of reality, their goals in life
differ because Holden wants to live in a society without conformity while Ben
wants to live life the way he wants to live it, regardless of how the society
lives. Although if we look through Bens life perspective we tend to see that we
live that way, we divert into different paths ignoring how other people live
their life instead of breaking down and worrying what the world has come to.

In comparison, Ben
and Holden are very innocent individuals when it comes to adulthood and facing
real world problems. In chapter 13, Holden manages to accept an offer for a prostitute
from the elevator guy. Holden was trying to avoid having an affair with the
prostitute but because he felt depressed at the time, he wanted to talk
someone, “the trouble was, and I just didn’t want to do it. I felt more
depressed than sexy, if you want to know the truth. She was depressing….” In the same manner, Ben is innocent when it
comes to the adult world. Ben reveals that the adulthood is perverted and people
have high expectations, especially when he graduated from college.
Comparatively, while both authors portray rebellious characters in different
societies, the characters have a bigger and deeper meaning to the story. In the
works of Salinger, he portrayed Holden as a very rebellious character in the
beginning of the book. Saying that he got kicked out of prep schools, we know
that prep schools do not expel their students that often, so how is Holden
getting kicked out of school so much? Holden is a rebel to society as well, he
calls everyone he ever encounters a phony and at the same time he is busy
separating himself from the “norms” of the society that he is a part of. In
other words, he is strongly against conformity. He believes that if you conform
you’re a phony. This shows that Salinger portrayed Holden as a rebellious
person in general. Identically, Ben; the one in the Graduate; showed his rebellious ways when having the affair with
Mrs. Robinson while dating Elaine. Nichols had a powerful way of showing the
audience this; Mrs. Robinson isn’t happy with her marriage which is causing her
to drink too much and carry on affairs and Ben happened to be there. “Wait a
minute. 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 but
she doesn’t and decides to have an affair. Ben is also rebellious for following
through with Mrs. Robinson’s seducing techniques while having a relationship
with Elaine. Therefore, Ben and Holden share very similar things but differ in
a way only some can pick out.

When we conform we
tend to lose who we really are, so it is best for us to isolate once in a
while; Holden really hated the thought of conformity, he came across as a simple
guy but yet complicated. J.D Salinger portrayed Holden as a sensitive guy
although when he speaks he is cynical about it. In chapter 25, Holden went to
Phoebe’s school and saw a lot of “Fuck you”(222,Salinger) he tried to rub a few
of them out and some of them came out. But when he went down another fleet of
stair-cases he saw another “Fuck you” on the wall and this time it was
scratched on and Holden wasn’t able to get rid of it. He couldn’t hide this
negativity from the children at this school, especially from Phoebe. After
seeing all the negativity he wanted some peace, so he decided to go the museum
where 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 be
negativity 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 and
supplied him a bed and a fatherly like figure. “Among other things, you’ll find
that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even
sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be
excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled
morally and spiritually as you are right now.”(Chapter 24). Salinger portrayed
the society Holden lives in as a sickened world, that everyone is crude, but to
find out he’s not the only one to see the world the way he does.

            Ben
lived his life in a very interesting way. First of all, he wanted freedom and
nothing else; he didn’t like that his parents kept bugging him about what he
was 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 your
future…your life….what are your plans” Ben replied “Well-that’s a little hard
to say”. This shows that he is confused and wants to do something different
than what he went to school for. The scene after this was him with the fish
tank. The fish tank represents that he is locked up in his own life and cannot
be freed. He became restless and depressed based on the fact that he is trapped
and can no longer escape. Although he lives in a big house with a kind
community, he feels imprisoned by his circumstances. He feels like no adult can
connect to him because they are all phonies; they’re plastics. Plastics, the
material, are easily distributed and easily sold. Plastics, the phony people in
his community, behave like a fake society. They behave as if they have no
freedoms.  Everyone is doing the exact
same 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 but
didn’t pursue his career. His only dream was to marry a beautiful girl. While
people in Ben’s society did get married, Ben pursued freedom by marrying Elaine
not in the way society expects people to get married, but in the way that
pleased him.

            After
reading and watching The Catcher in the
Rye and The Graduate; The Graduate, is the best way to
success. First of all, the way Ben lives his life is similar to how we live
today. Ignoring issues that does not involve you but if they do we would like
to know everything. Although he also hates the thought of conformity, he believes
that you can conform or live the life you want to live it and you should be
able 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 live
the way he wants to live it. This shows that we have the power to choose what
we want to do in life and this is the best way to success.  

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