Cultural Assumption 3: Social Class/Conformity

Social Class and Conformity is a status hierarchy in which individuals and groups are classified on the basis of esteem and prestige acquired mainly through economic success and accumulation of wealth. Social class may also refer to any particular level in such a hierarchy. There are four common social classes that are recognised in societies. These include upper class, middle class, working class and the lower class.

In the following YouTube clip is a man talking about his life a child in America in the 1950's. He's family was classified as being in the middle class of society.

One of the major themes in this classic novel is the personal struggle between conformity and individuality, either selling out and staying to yourself and your beliefs. An example in The Catcher in the Rye is when Spence tells Holden at the start of the book, "Life is a game that has to be played by the rules." Holden's conflicts result from his unwillingness to conform to the accepted social norms; eventually, this struggle proves too much and leas to his breakdown.

The characterisation of Holden, the main character, not wanting to fit in with society conveys to the audience that the author, J.D. Salinger does not agree with social class and conformity. This is presented to us through Holden's notion that all adults are 'phony'. This is his rejection of his fear of growing up. This example is to prove the point that "conformity" requires that the person"conform" to the demands of the adult roles which we all must take on we grow in maturity.

The social class and conformity is challenged by J.D. Salinger as he depicts to us that we don't need to live up to society's expectations and way of life. J.D. Salinger says we should follow our own dreams and not become 'phonies' when we grow into society's cruel ways.

Comment Stream