Rebellion is a way to overthrow old ideas to make your ideas a reality for the world to see. One could say rebellion is a form of individuality or a freedom of expression, despite it not being viewed in favor to other people ideas or opinions. The book The Catcher in the Rye and the movie Rebel Without a Cause are such examples of how society has shown the many varied forms of rebellion. The Catcher in the Rye is a story about a teen named Holden Caufield, who views the majority of people around him as phonies and has the urge to break away from these type of people. While, Rebel Without a Cause talks about a high- school student named Jim Stark, who is a nonconformist among his peers and who has the urge to stay away from the constant strife among his own parents.

Both The Catcher in the Rye and Rebel Without a Cause are very interconnected on the topic of rebellion. Both exhibit a character who is not only rebellious, but also a nonconformist. Also, both the movie and the book share many common symbols. For example in Catcher in the Rye, Holden wore a hunting hat that he usually took wherever he went.

“…I put on this hat that I’d bought in New York that morning. It was this red hunting hat, with one of those very, very long peaks.”

Mr. Caufield wore his hat in many places and did not care what people thought about it. While in Rebel Without a Cause, Jim Stark wore a bright red jacket to the “chickie run” that made him stand out from the rest of the crowd. These red types of clothing is a symbol of being different or standing out from the rest of society.

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden had a sister named Phoebe Caufield who he loved dearly. In the scene where Holden decided to leave his family to go to some place far away, he wanted to at least say goodbye to his younger sister. He had her meet up with him at a museum, after she got out of school. What Holden did not know, was when she came with a suitcase filled with her stuff asking him to join in on his journey.

“…Can’t I go with you? Holden? Can’t I? Please.”

While in Rebel Without a Cause, Jim had friend named John or “Plato” (nickname) who thought of him as a surrogate or father he never had, since he biological father died long ago. When time passed as Jim, Judy, and John were in the mansion, John fell asleep next to the pool. Jim and Judy left him alone and went in the mansion, but what they didn’t know was that a bunch of guys came to the mansion and jumped John. Later on in the movie, John yelled at Jim saying why did he leave him saying he was scared. In both events, one could say that Phoebe and John are a symbol of a child that wants their parent (Holden and Jim are the parents in this case) by their side at all times.

And last but not least, Holden in The Catcher in the Rye constantly makes remarks labeling others as phonies. Mr. Caufield really despises others because he views the many people in his life as insincere, liars, or hypocrites.

“One of the biggest reasons I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That’s all. They were coming in the … window.”

While in Rebel Without a Cause, Jim Stark likes to be the anomaly in high school. He doesn’t try to be like the popular kids who cause trouble, tell lies, and who are materialistic. He looks for sincerity and truthfulness. So in conclusion, both Jim Stark and Holden Caufield are symbols of nonconformists in a very conformist society.


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