Hey, I got a M6 on this essay and was wondering what I would have needed to get an E. Or is it worth a reconsideration?
Q. Analyse how ideas were important in helping you understand more about yourself.
Cather in the Rye written by J.D Salinger is a buldinsgrowsman novel which depicts the story and development of 17 year old Holden Caulfield. It follows this cynical teenager to New York after he is expelled from his fourth school Penney Prep. The authors purpose of this film was to create a realistic character that the audience could relate and connect with. He does this by incorporating autobiographical elements of his life into Holden’s character to show a more insatiable account of society. Throughout the novel the themes of Artificial vs authentic and Mental Illnesses helped me understand more about myself especially in a way that I hadn’t thought of before. This is because I was able to see the issues in a society and the way that it effects be consequently.
Firstly the theme of artificial vs authentic was shown in the novel when Holden meets prostitute Sunny whilst staying at the Edmont hotel. As she walks in, Holden utters under his breathe that “I didn’t expect her to be a big old prostitute with a lot of make up on her face but she just sat cross legged and jiggled her foot”. This quote shows that Holden was surprised by Sunny due to her very young age. Sunny had alsp broken Holden stereotypes of just another cliche prostitute. This is because of the thought that someone so young and innocent looking was doing a job/earning money through engaging in sexual activity. Though I have never been in such a situation I realised that people around my age have. This made me realise that I had such a closed off perspective of who a teenager should be before reading this but from Sunny’s character it reminded me that people can be who they want to be and do what they want to. However, the way the Sunny presented herself especially her body language showed that she was very nervous and uncomfortable in the situation which makes the audience doubt if she is actually doing this to her liking. The way that she ‘sat cross legged’ makes the audience feel like she is trying to protect herself. Further, the way that she ‘jiggled her foot’ indicated her agitation, and anxiousness as she was doing it to distract herself in the moment. All these action are the human body’s response to acting in a very contradictory way to her true self. This is similar to how in a job interview, meeting or before a speech we feel uncomfortable and sacred so we unkwoingly shake our legs or cross our arms. The reason may be because we also have to act in a contradictory way to who we really are especially infront of our boss or colleagues. This sense of ‘acting professionally’ is very different to the person you are at home. This made me realise that I also do specific gestures or sit with proper posture when in formal situation. This is because the impression that I want to make and how I want to present myself in the situation is different to the open, carefree nature I show to my friends. Another example which shows her discomfort is when Sunny gets up to leave she says “no long now crumb bum”. This is a very immature responses which reiterates her age and also shows how she was so pleased to get out of that room. The authors purpose of having such a character interacting with Holden is to show that with the right education and motivation behind her she could have had a stable career. The author shows that she was being very contradictory to her true self because society influences her to be that. For example, with Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms teens are able to see models. These models influence us to put on these perfectly fake personas and mask up these personalities who though may seem nice and approachable are not a carbon copy of who they really are. We follow these trends as humans because we are physcologically wired in a way to follow majorities so we end up hiding behind someone elses face in an uncomfortable situation which the author shows beautifully through Sunny’s character all because society doesn’t allow us to truly be ourselves. This has made me realise that I also have fallen for these traps numerous times before, especially as the models being exhibited online have perfect hourglass figures, long silky hair, a tanned tone and flawless skin which made me feel the need to also display this time of image. This concluded in highly constraining diets and exhausting excercise which my body could not cope with. I ended up getting sick several time before I realised that there was something wrong. Seeing Sunny’s charcater struggling in that sitation made me realise that I truely didnt need to be doing that.
Secondly, the themes of artificial vs Authentic is shown again during Holden’s date and made me understand more about myself. Holden goes on a date with Sally to see a move, however during the intermission she is totally ignoring his presence. Instead she starts a conversation with a George, a guy from Andover who according to Holden is probably “a guy that she was met once before”. This makes the reader feel like George is a bit of a ‘phony’ and isn’t really Holdens type of guy. But it also shows how Sunny is a bit of a social climber. She is using Holden for connections and as the situation carrier on it feels like when a better guy (George) with a greater social status comes along Holden will get dropped. This made me realise that people in society can take advantage of you and though they put out a nice and approachable persona they may not be. It also helped me understand that myself as I relaised that some people that I considered friends may have also been taking advantage of me in situations. This made me very conflicted and feel almost a sense of betrayal which may be what Holden is aso feeling. The author is able to helped me understand these emotions by making a scenario that teengers like me can relate to which is admirable. As the conversation continues they talk earnestly about the Lunts and how they are “absolute angels”, even name dropping in between. However to Holden she says only “marvellous” or “lovely”. These one world replies show how his thoughts are not very thoughtful, authentic or empathetic. This made me understand a lot about myself and my careless responses as well. Sometimes as humans we reply to a friends or even stranger with whatever is on the top of you head without knowing the situation or their issue entirely. This could have a greater impact on that person which may be much more than I think. I personally believe that honestly is the best policy and I have grown up around this policy especially coming from a Buddhst background however, in this society not everyone is as lovely as they appear to be. People have the ability to put on fake personas with made up likes and dislikes.
Finally the themes of Mental illnesses helped me understand more about myself as well as the people around me after being exposed to these signs. While talking to the nuns, Holden says “I’m always saying ‘Im glad t’ve met ya’ when Im not at all glad to have met you, you just have to say that kind of stuff to stay alive”. In this quote Holden refers to ‘alive’ both metaphorically and literally. Metaphorically in a way which relates to being relevant to hip culture and trends. The slang term (colloquial language), ‘Im glad t’ve met ya’ used by Holden shows that he is very up to date with these kinds of terms. It also makes the reader feel much closer to him and it is something we are able to relate with, though in reality Holden is not looking for any kind of relationship with us. This is proven through referring to ‘alive’ literally in relation to his weak mental health. Holden is constantly let down by relationships, school and just things around him in general. This stammering of life has put his mind in a weak place as he is constantly filled with anxiety, stress and even depression. The major stem of his depression has been due to the death of an individual. The death of his older brother Ally has made him hate himself and as well as close himself off to others. However, he was not let this out because society doesnt accept it. The author’s purpose is to show how even in society today mental illnesses are not allowed to surface. An example of this is when we go to a job interview, if a candidate was to disclose his background with mental illness or panic disorders his application has a very low chance of being picked due to the predetermined idea that he is unsuitable and will not be able to perform these tasks like someone without mental illnesses. Here the author shows how by Holden keeping everything hidden even from the audience he is able to stop prejediced opinions towards him and thus stay ‘alive’ in society. This made me realise that even with 30 years of human development society is still very similar to how Holden describes it in the 90’s. This is both alarming and scary as we live in a society where it has become a trend to claim and promote our inclusivity of everyone. Another example is when during the last fencing game of the season, whilst on the bus Holden says that “Its the last game for the season and if Pencey doesn’t win then you have to commit suicide”. This phrase from Holden is an example of a hyperbole and it shows the reader that the words commit suicide are being used very loosely. Though this may seem like an exaggeration the author is able to use these exaggerated feeling to make the reader understand the emotions in Holden mind which show some depth to the character. On the other hand the author shows how he is blaming himself. I believe that this is because he has such high standard and when he makes even the smallest mistake he begins to doubt himself. This is a arising symptom of mental illness. As these standard increase little by little and they are unfortunelty not met even after lots of hard work an individual may started to lose sense of reality and thus will end up isolating or alienating themselves from society. Whilst writing the past few lines I understand that this issue is present in myself as well. I am a person with high expectation to the point that I am unsatisfied with even a Merit grade. I have had friends tell me, more times than I can count on why I put such pressure on myself or why Im not happy with a grade that they would be celebrating over. I believe that this is very argumentative to each person but this constant pressure can also have an impact on me just like it has for Holden. So in the future I hope I am able to make changes and learn to be happy even with my mistakes as these will help me improve. For those that are not able to improve these may tern into forms of depression or post traumatic stress discoverers to which are difficult to deal with especially as many individual end up muddling up their issues due to not having the facilitates to outwardly express these emotions. This made me understand that we as society should increase facilities to help teenagers (as they need it most) going through the hardest times especially with exams, body changes and dealing with the burden of growing up and gaining responsibility. It makes me wonder that if Holden had such a place to reach out to would he have gotten the help he needed to admit and talk about his depression and anxiety?
Cather in the Rye written by J.D Salinger touched on the themes of artificial vs authentic and mental illnesses which made me understand more about myself as person. This included the way that I think towards several groups, people or things as well as the activities I engage myself in. I think this book helped teenagers like myself come to terms with some of the issues Holden is holding onto after seeing the toll it took on him.