"Catcher in the Rye" Cultural assumption 3
* In the 1950s there was huge pressure to conform or fit in. The fear of communism was everywhere and this fear made people conform because if they were different or stood out then they could potentially be seen as communists.
* White, middle-class, suburban women of America were also expected to conform to gender roles and expected to be happy as a result. But they weren't.
* Holden Caulfield saw through all of this. He didn't fit in and he was angry about how he saw others trying to make him conform to their values, beliefs and desires. He constantly sees people as 'phonies' and uses this word a lot in the novel. He sees his parents as conforming to society and calls them phoney too. Unfortunately this alienates him even more and adds to his loneliness, a theme that Salinger focuses on in the novel. Holden doesn't also see that he is a phony too as he lies constantly.
* J D Salinger also has his main character, Holden Caulfield, wear a red hunting cap backwards which shows how he doesn't want to conform to the world around him. The fact that the novel is in first person also shows us clearly how Holden feels about the world he lives in and the internal fight he has with fitting in with society around him.