Manhattan/Catcher in the Rye 11/26/12

Today’s class mainly touched upon the movie Manhattan and the book Catcher in the Rye. All of the music in Manhattan is by, George Gershwin. In this movie, the opening scene has music, which function is to emphasis certain points of his life, such as: happy moments when he ran through the toy story, and introducing Manhattan as a bold city with powerful music. But, underneath it all, is a very diverse New York culture. In a way, the music brings out the romantic appeal of New York. The movie demonstrates Romanticism by socializing. There are certain times when New York isn’t romantic, but then there are times when it is, for example when Isaac is in the dark corner with his lover. Isaac, the main character in the movie is an idealist, and is chasing his dreams because in his mind there is something to strive for.

The Romanticism embodied by the characters is performed in an intellectual way, because the individuals are professors and authors who reside in nice apartments. It focuses on the upper class, or in other words, those who are very comfortable financially.

When Isaac lost his job, he immediately thought to himself that he can’t pay the check at restaurant, must move into a new apartment, no more house in Hampton’s,and no more tennis lessons. In reality he is worried about all the wrong things. Instead, he should be concerned with paying bills and more importantly, feeding his family.

All the characters in the movie are entitled to their leisure time, which isn’t a big problem, for it is part of the romanticism. In a way this plot is similar to the one in Washington Square.

Music is used towards the end of the movie Manhattan for numerous reasons. First, it is utilized to represent similar things. Also, it shows feeling, which happened to be bittersweet. Manhattan is great and is complimented a lot, but it also has some negative qualities, one being it’s decentralized. The bittersweet represents the good and the bad. New Yorkers are tough on the outside, but teddy bears on the inside. Therefore, the music satisfied the individual parts and details, but put together as a composite has beauty and meaning. The movie uses the book ending technique, in the sense that the same music in the beginning and the end frames the plot.

We then shifted topics, and began discussing The Catcher in the Rye. Holden, the main character of the story comes from a wealthy background. The spirit of the time after World War Two represented many things such as: patriotism, positive outlook, getting back on your feet, age of consumerism, buying more than necessities, good and services were cheaper, and feeling of less value for human being.  In essence, buying things becomes most important, and the deeper values of what you yourself is worth is diminished.

Fake was the word Holden used in 1949 to describe various things in his life. His experience in New York consisted of spending money on useless things such as: going to clubs and throwing money across the pond. He talks to many groups of people and presents himself as this person who is too mature for his own good.

He is torn between being a child and being mature, therefore, he is outward oriented, because Holden views himself in relation to others and also, is a protector of children and innocence. Archetypes are used in this book to transcend time and space and don’t stop at cultural boundaries. Some generic examples are the dumb jock, the dumb blonde, nerds, and the wise old man, which happens to be Mr. Spencer. People have heroes, mentors, and suddenly, become disillusioned and discover that the person isn’t that smart or intelligent after all.  Holden is questioning his own parents, sent to private school, goes to New York on mythic journey, which tends to be very ironic throughout the book.