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Setting, Language And Symbolism In The Social Network And The Catcher In The Rye

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Both J.D. Salinger and David Fincher use similar techniques to tell a story to make the viewer/reader feel attached to the main character in more of a personal way. Some techniques that are present in both The Social Network and The Catcher in the Rye are, setting, language and symbolism.

Setting in a big theme in both movies, it is used to give more information about the main character and the environment that they are in. Scene 2 in The Social Network is set in the streets of Boston in 2004. It is dark as mark walks out of The Scholar Pub. he just had an argument with his girlfriend who then broke up with him. The darkness is used as a sense of mystery as if the viewer doesn’t know what can happen in it. The city looks old, the old buildings in the skyline add to this effect. You can hear sirens and noises from others, these sound effects are used to show how non-stop this city is and how busy everyone always is… but still, mark keeps his head down and makes his way back to his dorm. Mark is running home compared to everyone walking, this shows that he is a bit weird and lonely. But it could also mean that he is eager to get home to write his blog about how “Erica is a bitch”. Whilst running home he gets a lot of stares and judgemental looks from the others. The other people are usually with their friends or in a pair, very often are they walking by themselves, unlike mark. The director purposely put in sound effects of people chatting and going about their day to show that mark is excluded from this. This adds to the fact that he is alone and would make the viewer think that he doesn’t have a lot of friends. A similar theme is present in the catcher in the rye when Holden is often seen isolated and alienated. There are hints that he is telling his story from a hospital where he is recovering from his breakdown, and throughout the story his adventures are consistently focused on making some sort of human connection. Holden self-sabotages constantly. He feels lonely and isolated at school, but one of the first things he tells us is that he’s not going to the football game everyone else is attending. He decides to see people, and then insults them and drives them away. Holden uses alienation to protect himself from mockery and rejection, but his loneliness drives him to keep trying to connect.

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One of the most significant item/theme in The Catcher In The Rye is Holden’s red hunting hat. Closer to the start of the book he bought the hat, he was in New York and the manager of the fencing team. Holden’s hat represents his individuality and is his way of expressing this, a major Concept. A conflict in the novel is Holden’s need for companionship compared to his need for isolation. This hat epitomizes this conflict, which can be seen by Holden’s actions of hiding the hat when he is around acquaintances and wearing it when alone or amongst strangers. Holden wears the cap that he frankly admits is kind of ridiculous. For Holden it is a sign of his ‘otherness’ and his uniqueness—his isolation from others. Notably, he removes the hat whenever he is meeting someone he wants to connect with; Holden knows full well the hat is part of his protective colouring. In the social network mark wasn’t allowed into any finals club, as well he wasn’t in the row crew. Therefore, he could have felt excluded from his peers. This is also another reason that he made Facebook, it was in a way his own final club that he made, he added a factor of exclusivity, meaning that you’d had to have a “” email address. Facebook in a way was marks safe place. It was his place to go when he needed to let go and relax.

Holden’s language used throughout the text Isn’t very renowned in the literary critic’s area. Holden’s words, thoughts/comments Are used to broader his personality and create a more likeable/relatable character for the reader to relate to. Holden also comments his hatred toward “phonies”, this is most likely why he frequently confirms a sentence with ‘I really do,’ ‘It really does,’ or ‘if you want to know the truth.’ He also authenticates comments by over eradicating them. An example could be when Holden says, ‘She likes me a lot. I mean she’s quite fond of me.’ (pg. 141) and, ‘He was a very nervous guy- I mean a very nervous guy.’ (pg. 165) In each case, Holden makes a statement then feels as if he needs to reassure himself and others about what he just said. Mark doesn’t tend to speak a lot to people that he is does not know that well. When mark is familiar with the person that he is talking to, he can talk fluently. Mark has an IQ well above others and this makes the way that he goes about life different to the others. David Fincher portrays mark as an intellectual genius who doesn’t fit in but is trying hard to.

The texts both can excite, inform and entertain at the same time and is appealing to both technical and non-technical viewers. The way that David Fincher and J. D. Salinger incorporate setting, language and symbolism into their texts are very similar to each other and this is something that sets them apart from other texts. Both texts use many themes which help connect to the main character in a personal level. Being able to connect to the main character makes you feel more in touch with them, this makes you feel for them if something bad happens or happy for them if something good happens.

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Setting, Language And Symbolism In The Social Network And The Catcher In The Rye. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“Setting, Language And Symbolism In The Social Network And The Catcher In The Rye.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
Setting, Language And Symbolism In The Social Network And The Catcher In The Rye. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2023].
Setting, Language And Symbolism In The Social Network And The Catcher In The Rye [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2023 Sept 29]. Available from:
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