Books and Movies Reviews

Comparing Catcher in the Rye and Pygmalion and the Themes They Represent

Comparing Catcher in the Rye and Pygmalion and the Themes They Represent
In J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, muses at one point on the possibility of escaping from the world of confusion and "phonies" while George Bernard Shaw's main character of Pygmalion, Eliza Dolittle, struggles to become a phony.The possible reason for this is that they both come from opposite backgrounds.Holden is a young, affluent teenager in 1950's America who resents materialism and Eliza Dolittle is a young, indigent woman who is living in Britain during the late 1800's trying to meet her material needs and wants.These two seemingly opposite characters do in fact have something in common: they, like every other person, are in a constant pursuit of happiness.This commonality is the basis for the themes these two stories present.Some of these themes go unconsidered and this leads to many misunderstandings in the world.This is why Pygmalion and Catcher in the Rye are not just stories but, in fact, lessons that are presented in their themes.These themes teach that being middle or upper class does not guarantee happiness, treating others with good manners and equality are important, and pronunciation and terminology can "put you in your place" in terms of class.
Throughout the world's history, pronunciation and the way a language is spoken indicates one's place in society.This is quite apparent in Pygmalion.Eliza is a classic victim of being "put into her place" based on the way she speaks.She goes to Professor Higgins in hope that he will give her lessons on how to speak in a more refined.She says she wants "to be a lady in a flower shop stead of sellin at the corner of Tottenham Court Road.But they won't take me unless I can talk more genteel" (23).This is precisely why she comes to Henry Higgins.He knows …


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