CONFORMITY - Behaving in accordance of those around you & complying with the standards, rules and socially accepted conventions of society.

Conformity in the 1950's was quite important to Americans for a variety of reasons.

- America had recently won WWII, this meant America looked quite good to the rest of the world and wanted to uphold and maintain this view.

- As the previously mentioned in the juvenile delinquency blog, America had experienced an economic boost. This boost in the economy meant the rise of consumerism with people buying more to be the same as everyone else.

- The rise of media pressure pushing the concept of what an american lifestyle and what American values SHOULD be like.

'American's just like YOU are making the switch'.

' Join the thousands of smart new drivers today'.

'The forward look, feel, drive of success'.

'more & more people driving and buying this car'.

No, no, no

Stick to the stuff you know
If you wanna be cool
Follow one simple rule
Don't' mess with the flow, no no
Stick to the status quo

LImited gender roles, pushing women to be and only be domestic wives. No higher education, no higher aspirations in life.

Conformity - Catcher in the Rye

Throughout Catcher in the Rye, Salinger, on many occasions indirectly makes reference to conformity. An example of this (language technique) is the way in which Caulfield refers to the people around him as phonies, rude, snobbish morons. These 'phonies' are people conforming with the rest of society, despite how ridiculous and fake they may seem.

Mr Haas is a 'phony' due to his tireless effort to look good in front of his students parents, regardless of how fake he seems.

The view of conformity is not only made reference to, but also challenged by Salinger in Catcher in the Rye. He expresses this in the passage, where Caulfield agrees wholeheartedly with the comments his teacher Mr Thurner makes about life.

Mr Thurner suggests that life and conformity is simply a petty game, where you are expected to play by the rules without question.

I feel as though Salinger challenges this concept of conformity in order to make the reader question why such a thing is enforced, why we must play this game. Why can't we just be ourselves and express our true feelings without having to keep in mind what is socially expected of us, why are we playing this 'game'?

Comment Stream

2 years ago

The cultural assumption that is shown here is conformity, the examples that you shown in this were very clear to me, i completely understand the meaning of it. I can see the way the author shows this cultural assumption by talking about how Salinger is challenged in Catcher in the Rye. You tell me everything i need to know about this novel e.g. the time, theme etc. i can not find any similarities between our two blogs, probably because they're two very completely different novels. Good post.