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Copmparing Catcher In The Rye And Pygmalion And Th Essay

eir ThemesComparing Catcher in the Rye and Pygmalion and the
Themes They Represent In J. D. Salingers 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
Shaws 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 1950s America who
resents materialism and Eliza Dolittle is a young, indigent
woman who is living in Britain during the late 1800s 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 worlds history,
pronunciation and the way a language is spoken indicates
ones place in society. This is quite apparent in Pygmalion.

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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 wont take me unless I can talk more
genteel (23). This is precisely why she comes to Henry
Higgins. He knows quite a bit about the study of speech. In
fact, he is a professor of phonetics. He can pronounce one
hundred thirty vowel sounds and place any man within six
miles of their homes (15). Sometimes he can even place
them within two streets of their homes. When Eliza hears
this, she decides to take advantage of Higgins ability and
take lessons from him. She learns a new form of speech
and this newfound way of speaking helps to pass her off as
a duchess at an opera. Holdens speech also manages to
categorize him: not class-wise, but rather age-wise and
personality-wise. He captures the informal speech of an
average intelligent adolescent. This speech includes both
simple description and cursing. For example, in the
introduction, Holden says, Theyre nice and all, as well
as, Im not going to tell you my whole goddam
autobiography or anything (1). The term nice is an
extremely broad term Holden uses to characterize his
parents. He does not want to disrespect them yet he does
not feel right praising them either. This opening to Holdens
story shows Holdens unwillingness to share his views.

However, this gradually changes and he opens up. He uses
the terms and all and or anything regularly throughout
the novel and because not everyone speaks like this, these
terms make Holdens speech unique. Holden also feels he
has to confirm what he is saying because he does not quite
believe himself. For example, he says, Im a pacifist, if you
want to know the truth (26). When Holden is particularly
angry, he swears more often. He says That guy Morrow is
about as sensitive as a god dam toilet seat (55). His
inability to properly communicate without have to rely on
profanity to express himself shows Holden as a boy
suffering from what some might call teenage angst.

Holden, however, rarely shows his angst publicly. For the
most part, he is composed in front of people; especially
adults and strangers. If annoyed about something, he
manages to say what he thinks in such a polite, disguised
way, the people he talks to do not even notice. Holden
believes in manners and treating everyone equally. Before
Holden leaves for Christmas Break, Mr. Spencer invites
him to his house and asks about what the headmaster, Dr.

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Thurmer, said to him. Holden replies that Dr. Thurmer
spoke of life being a game, and that one should play it
according to the rules (8). Holden shows no animosity
about Dr. Thurmers speech. He accepts it as part of the
educators duty even though he knows that life is only a
game if you are on the right side, where all the hot-shots
are. Mr. Spencer also lectures and proceeds to go through
Holdens history exam with him. Holden did poorly both in
class and on the exam and feels guilty because Mr.

Spencer is infatuated with history. Holden tells his teacher
that he enjoys listening to his lectures in class but he didnt
care much for history because he doesnt want to hurt his
feelings (11). Robert Ackley, the boy living in the room
next to Holden and Ward Stradlater, Holdens roommate
at Pencey Prep, are seemingly exact opposites of each
other. Ackley is a boring, homely loner while Stradlater is
an exiting, handsome athlete. However, Holden sees them
as being quite similar. Primarily, they are both slobs.

Ackley is a blatant slob: He has lousy teeth they
always looked mossy and awful and he had a lot of
pimples (19) while Stradlater is a secret slob. He always
looked all right, but you shouldve seen the razor he shaved
himself with . rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs
(27). They are also uncaring and self-absorbed. For
example, Stradlater does not care about Holdens feelings
for Jane Gallagher. After the two fight about her, Holden
goes to Ackleys room to talk. Ackley keeps telling Holden
to be quiet and go to sleep even though Holden always
listens to his problems. Holden also condemns a former
headmaster who is especially courteous to well-dressed,
well-to-do parents and less courteous, to less sophisticated
and powerful parents. This disgusts Holden and he resents
that someone he is supposed to respect is such a prime
example of the materialistic society he lives in. Eliza also
believes that all people should be treated equally. Including
herself, she greatly dislikes the patronizing way people of
low-class society are treated by people of high-class
society. In an attempt to equal herself with others in
society, Eliza wants to take lessons on how to talk more
genteel (23). Even though she has virtually no money, she
insists to Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering that she has
come to have lessons, I am. And pay for em too: make no
mistakes (23). She does not believe that she should be
given any special considerations just because she cannot as
readily afford the lessons as others. These lessons, she
believes, will change her life and she will then be a happier
person. In the beginning of Pygmalion, Eliza is a young
low-class woman selling flowers on the street corner so
that she can make enough money to survive. Even though
this is the only way of living she knows, Eliza sees that there
is more out there and she does not have to be a low-class
woman forever. She wants more out of life and will not
allow herself to be stomped on by others. She is a very
proud person and when Henry Higgins orders his maid,
Mrs. Pearce, to take all of her clothes off and burn them,
Eliza replies angrily, youre no gentleman, youre not, to
talk of such things. Im a good girl, I am (27). The burning
of her old clothes marks the beginning of a series of
changes for Eliza. In the hopes of achieving a better life in
high-class society, she must say good-bye to everything she
knows and this she does with mixed emotions. After her
transformation, though, she discovers that life is not as
wonderful as she thought it would be. Eliza realizes that
so-called proper people have problems as well. Now
that she has achieved her goal, she does not know what
she is going to do with her life. She does have secret hopes
of marrying Henry Higgins, however, but these hopes are
destroyed during a fight in which he reveals to her that he
has no intentions of marrying her. He tells her she might
marry, you know. You see Eliza, all men are, not confirmed
old bachelors like me and the Colonel. Most men are the
marrying sort (poor devils) (77). After this realization hits,
Eliza leaves Professor Higgins home. Soon after, she gets
involved with Freddy Eynford Hill, a poor but classy,
intelligent gentleman. He is clearly in love with Eliza and
they marry. From this point on, they live a simple life,
working in their own flower shop. Throughout her
transformation, Eliza loses sight of her original goal which is
to own a flower shop. She begins to think she needs more
to b happy. Ironically, however, at the point in her life when
she has the most materially, is the point she is unhappiest.

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This is not to say that she resents all that she has learned
because now she realizes that achieving her original goal is
all she needs. Holden presents this theme in a different way
than Eliza. At the beginning of the novel, he states that he
does not want to explain where I was born, and what my
lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were
occupied and all before they had me, and all that David
Copperfield king of crap (1). Even though he comes from
an affluent family from NYC, he has problems of his own.

He does not live a free and easy lifestyle, as some would
expect. In fact, the life he leads could typically be expected
by society to be that of someone of a lower class. For
example, he is repeatedly expelled from schools for poor
achievement. In an attempt to deal with his latest expulsion,
he leaves school a few days prior to the end of term, and
goes to New York to take a vacation before returning
home to deal with his parents. Throughout his journey
home, he describes bouts of deep depression, impulsive
spending and erratic behaviour prior to his nervous
breakdown. Despite his material wealth, Holden does not
appreciate what he has; he feels guilty. For example, his
roommate at Elkton Hills, Dick Slagee had very
inexpensive suitcases. He used to keep them under the
bed, instead of on the rack, so that nobody would see them
standing next to mine. It depressed holy hell out of me, and
I kept wanting to throw mine out or something, or even
trade with him (108). Holden is a prime example that all
people are human beings; one is not any better than another
based on which position in society they hold. He is not
pretentious because of his wealth, but actually, if a
comparison of the two is going to be made, Holden is of a
higher class than Eliza but he leads a more melancholy life
than she. Therefore, wealth does not create happiness.

These two authors, J .D. Salinger and George Bernard
Shaw have created two stories that are effective in many
different ways. They are not only great literary pieces of
work written with great intelligence but they are also geared
toward the average reader. This method of creating a story
that virtually anyone can read and find interest in is a great
way to attract readers. When readers are attracted, the
authors messages get across much more clearly and to a
larger number of people. When Catcher in the Rye and
Pygmalion were written, the authors had the same themes
in mind. These themes provoke thought and when thought
is provoked, many good things can happen. For example,
people can realize what they are doing wrong and change
their ways. As these stories show, being middle or upper
class does not guarantee happiness, being well mannered
and treating people equally is important, and people should
not always be judged based on the way they speak. If
people read these stories and realize that they are not just
great literary works but also important messages, much
more can be learned than the mechanics of writing. If
people begin to take these themes and apply them to
everyday life, these stories could be considered more than
just literature
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Copmparing Catcher In The Rye And Pygmalion And Th Essay
eir ThemesComparing Catcher in the Rye and Pygmalion and the
Themes They Represent In J. D. Salingers 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
Shaws 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 teena
2018-12-27 03:51:38
Copmparing Catcher In The Rye And Pygmalion And Th Essay
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