Searching for Happiness: Trolls and Catcher in the Rye

Trolls and Catcher in the Rye

In class on March 21, 2017, we started off with a film presentation on the recent animated movie, Trolls. The presenter, Camille, gave a useful summary of the film because no one in the class has seen the movie. The film has no central plot but otherwise based on the Trolls and Bergens’ actions. The Bergens, who are like monster creatures, have decided to eat the trolls because they are happy; the Bergens are only happy because they eat trolls. In the movie, the two main characters are trolls named Poppy and Branch. Poppy is a troll that is always happy where on the other hand Branch is always a downer. Camille made it clear that Trolls is targeted to a very young audience.

The central theme of Trolls is about finding happiness. The theme is most blatant when the Bergens eat the trolls solely for their happiness. The only criticism about the movie is that Trolls does not capture the realities of mental illness. Then again, the movie is targeted to a very young children so this will be the reason for mental illness not expressed. Troll’s theme was very similar to the theme of today’s class. The theme of today’s class was Holden’s search for happiness with his possible mental illness. In class we discussed Holden’s depression; we also discussed the importance of agency of Holden’s character. Holden is constantly searching for happiness, especially in the readings for today.

After the presentation, we then had a class discussion. The discussion started first in small groups of two then the whole class. The discussion focused on about four question about each chapter read so far. Each question focused on a key point within the chapter. My group had chapters three, six and seven. A similar question asked is: What is the significance of Holden’s hat? Each group spoke and discussed out loud on two of the four questions. Each question related back to the themes of Holden Caulfield. The themes written on the board about Holden is: loneliness, obsession with death, desperate pursuit of preserving innocence, confusion about sex and sexuality, depression, and inability to trust others (this relates to Holden’s paranoia). The central theme of today’s class is searching for happiness and Holden is constantly trying to do that though he is struggling with depression.

After the discussion, the class learned about the background of the book. The class now knows the ongoing conversation of the author, J.D. Salinger, and Holden are one in the same. J.D. Salinger was also born in New York City on January 1, 1919. Salinger also hates math just Holden does in the book. Catcher in the Rye is not meant to be an autobiography but the book is meant to relate to his life. Basically Salinger’s art does imitate his life.

Catcher in the Rye is subject to a lot of censorship. The censorship is mainly with young adults, like high schoolers and middle schoolers, reading Catcher in the Rye in schools. The main issues that led to censorship in schools are language, lack of a positive role model in Holden’s character, and lack of values and morals. The language in Catcher in the Rye has words that are profane. The book is notable for word creation or slang. This book created the word phony. Holden is not considered a positive role model for young adults because of his pessimistic views and his mental illness. The lack of morals and values can be attributed to the teen sexual activity and underage alcohol consumption. Catcher in the Rye was written in the 1950s. The opinions of the 1950s on these issues may be different than the opinions on these issues today. Censorship on the issues were most likely raised by people who have a conservative or religious beliefs. Censorship is not so much of an issue for Catcher in the Rye in the 21rst century.

Lastly, Professor Rafieisakhaei asked each puppet show group which fairy tale the group will be performing. Puppet show performances will take place in mid-April.

 

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