Kendra Bonnett--Getting Read #15
What is a story?
What's your theme and message?
In This Side of Paradise, Amory Blaine strives to throw off nonconformity and become more like everyone else. When he finally achieves his goal and feels he fits in with his crowd, he discovers just how meaningless and empty conformity is. The book ends with Amory’s self-realization; he knows himself and that he is ready to accept his life: “’I know myself,’ he cried, ‘but that is all.’” While he had found his own way; the next generation was only beginning its quest: “Here was a new generation… dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken…”
At the ripe old age of 16, The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield is thoroughly jaded by modern society and alienated from peers and adults alike. Unable to find meaningful communication and interaction, his separation and seclusion become ever more palpable. Where Amory ultimately found comfort in the non-conformity of his lost generation, Holden finds only the loneliness of an outsider in an age of conformity and envy for the simple naiveté of innocent youth (still traveling to the beat of its own drum). Holden isn’t on a personal journey; he’s the last sane man standing…decrying the loss of honesty and integrity in postwar America.