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The Shadow of Negativity
Transcript of The Shadow of Negativity
AKA: Dave Huffman, Niki Anguelov
Max Woempner, and Peter Farmer Shadow of Negativity Thesis Background Info of the Era Pessimism Hypocrisy Holden's hypocrisy manifests itself through his hatred for phonies.
Despite Holden's high social standards for those around him, he "subconsciously" acts the same way as those he has dubbed phony.
Holden never regards his own actions as phony since he clearly sees himself above most other people, thus making it not plausible that his actions are parallel to those around him. Symbols How His Life is Negative Despite hypocrisy and pessimism being unavoidable aspects of the world’s social environment, JD Salinger illustrates through Holden Caulfield in the novel The Catcher in the Rye that a life consumed by negativity and a constant contradiction of one's social standards results in an overall decline in life quality because of the ever increasing difficulty to maintain social contacts and the constant depression brought by solitude. Starts when his little brother, Allie, dies.
Holden views Allie a symbol of hope, innocence, and purity. So to Holden, when Allie dies, hope for the future dies along with him.
Almost everything and everyone he describes is followed by to what extent or why he despises them.
His main way of describing his hatred is to call people "phonies"
By being constantly negative, he prevents himself from enjoying life. He is unable to look on the bright side of life and is tunnel-visioned on the negative aspects. The US, just having emerged successful from the cataclysmic events of WWII, was the world’s most powerful economic and military force, only rivaled by the vast Soviet Union.
Due to the explosive economic success of the wartime industries, the United States was plunged into an era of economic prosperity.
American society in the post WWII era regressed back to a male-dominate and Jim Crow segregated society as familial obligations pulled women back to the domestic environment, and African Americans were liquidated from their hard earned jobs by the flocks of veterans returning from the overseas conflicts. Background Information on Holden Holden Caulfield is 17-year-old “man-child” whose constant struggle to isolate himself from the “phonies” of society drives him towards a life of negativity and solitude.
Holden (at the beginning of the novel) attends a private boarding school named Pencey Prep. in the state of Pennsylvania. Here he is unfortunately surrounded by people who don’t appeal to his idealistic social standards and this in turn drives him away from most social interactions with his peers.
Despite the fact that Holden detests people who put up a false persona, Holden constantly contradicts his own principles due to his habitual tendency to lie and deceive other people for his own amusement. Pessimism Hypocrisy "'I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,' ' I said. 'Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all'" (173).
"Her son was doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, in the whole crumby history of the school." (54).
"You give me a royal pain in the ass, if you want to know the truth" (133). When Holden gets drunk, he imagines himself as a wounded soldier, shot in the stomach and slowly dying.
Holden's psychological pain is being translated as physical pain in this fantasy
When Holden is wandering New York, he starts praying to Allie every time he steps off a curb to not let him (Holden) get lost forever.
It shows how Holden is on the brink of oblivion, and is afraid that soon he will lose all hope.
"Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad" (52)
"I'd never yell 'Good luck!' at anybody. It sounds terrible, when you think about it." (16)
"Don't ever tell anyboody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody." (214) His hatred to everything prevents him from making new friends
"'Have just one more drink,' I told him. 'Please. I'm lonesome as hell. No kidding,'" (149).
Refuses to move on
"'Jane Gallagher,' I said. I even got up from the washbowl when he said that. I damn near dropped dead." (31)
Can't plan for the future/ has no hope for the future.
"I have a feeling that you're riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall. ... It may be the kind where, at the age of thirty, you sit in some bar hating everybody who comes in looking as if he might have played football in college." (186) Conclusion In summation, Holden’s life is affected on a grand scale by his constant pessimism and tendency to contradict his own social morals.
Hypocrisy is a sort of “silent shadow” which accompanies Holden wherever he goes, but Holden’s ignorance of his own ways causes him to maintain his high standards and continue to remain in social isolation.
In addition to Holden’s hypocritical ideals and actions, he falls into the habitual tendency to get in his own way with respect to his interactions with other people. Despite Holden’s constant desire to obtain companionship, his habit of always seeing people’s “worst” features pushes him away from what wants most, thus thrusting Holden on an ever continuing cycle of negativity and pessimism.
In order for Holden to truly be happy with his life, he must be willing to forego the high social standards he has set for his peers and learn to accept that humans all have unavoidable flaws. Important Places F E A D Outside Connections! Holden's negative outlook on the world compares to Cathy's superiority complex in the sense that both see themselves as above other people and dissapointed that no one around them is up to the standards that they live
1. Phoebe’s school
2. Central park
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
4.Museum of Natural History
5. Going ‘Home’
8. The lake
9. Edmont Hotel
10. Wicker Bar
12.Radio City Ice Rink
14. Biltmore Hotel
16. Grand Central Terminal
18. Fifth Ave.
19. Penn Station