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I just have a quick question. How do the Catcher in the Rye, tie together with the movie Six Degrees of Separation?? Can anyone please answer me, kk thanks
I think the theme discussed in the article -- that rich people insulate themselves from the poor people who live nearby -- is a tiny part of the film and scarcely deserves the amount of attention it gets in this article. Uucp 17:14, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
RE: the sentence: Smith is able to make his audience believe that he is the son of Sidney Poitier . Should this be 'Smith's character'? Ashmoo 06:30, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Links between Catcher In The Rye and Six Degrees of Separation
First of all, I watched this movie with a friend of mine almost entirely on the pretense that it concerned Catcher In The Rye--which is a book we both hold dear, and can literally discuss for days without running out of new notions about it. So, for that reason I may have been more tuned in to the Catcher references than most people would probably bother with on a first viewing. (What can I say? We're big nerds.)
(WARNING: I'm probably about to spoil the entire film and simultaneously beat it to death with a nerd stick right here in this one little comment. If you haven't yet seen it and you'd rather not have my interpretation of it stuck in your head upon first viewing, do stop reading now.)
The most obvious Catcher In The Rye reference comes (if I remember correctly) just after the Kittredges tend to Paul's wound. Paul begins to mourn the loss of his thesis paper, which he says was stolen by muggers. He tells them that it was primarily about Catcher In The Rye, which the couple and their guest all suddenly say they "haven't read in years". (This, in a way, is significant, because the peculiar thing about the book is that an astonishingly wide variety of people have read it and identified strongly with Holden Caulfield at some point in their lives, which always sounds strange coming out of the mouths of successful, apparently socially comfortable individuals--like the ones speaking here.) Paul goes on to cite several examples of shocking, violent acts (John Lennon's murder was on the list, unfortunately I can't immediately recall the others) that he claims were inspired by Catcher In The Rye in one way or another. He traces this effect back to the fact that Holden Caulfield in many of his (generally conflicting) attributes, represents a typical adolescent male. Paul argues that for this very reason, adolescent males are probably the only people who shouldn't read the book, since they have more trouble seeing it objectively, and goes on to present his theory about the purpose of the imagination, with lots of direct quotes from Catcher sprinkled throughout. Essentially, there's a whole scene of maybe ten minutes in length in the first act of the film where Will Smith performs an essay about Catcher In The Rye: definitely a reference.
However, there are clear allusions before that point in the movie as well. Paul's way of making friends with the Kittredges--before he gets around to mentioning the fake Sidney Poitier connection--mirrors a conversation that Holden has with a woman on the train as he is leaving the school. Both young men pretend to be good friends with students they either don't know or don't like in order to form a connection with said students' parents. Indeed, Paul's particular way of lying throughout the entire film is very Caulfield-esque: constant, but charming and more-or-less benign (Paul's actual motivations is never really made clear since, at least throughout the first half of the film, he really doesn't take anything but time and space from the people he visits, not even eating the food he prepares for them. Similarly, Holden never really gives a reason as to why he lies to all the strangers he comes into contact with, and there is no particular practical reason for them not to know who he is.)
Even before this, there is a debatably Catcherish moment--one which actually recurs throughout the film--when Geoffrey Miller looks out the window of the Kittredges apartment through a spyglass and focuses in on a statue of a dog in Central Park. In Paul's first flustered speech as he enters the apartment explaining that he has been mugged, he refers to the same statue, "wondering why there's a statue of some dog who saved a lot of people in the Yukon in the middle of Central Park...". It's definitely not a direct reference, and I probably wouldn't have thought of it as one at all, except that it was pointed out to me that it clearly shows up over and over for a reason (I believe the dog statue is in the shot when Paul meets Elizabeth and Rick, as well), and Central Park recurs this way in Catcher In The Rye as well, and Paul's question about the dog seems to me like a way to further tie him and Holden together, as it somewhat mirrors Holden's question about the ducks.
I recall noticing a fair number of nods to CITR in the cinematography, too, although the only one I can remember specifically at present is the depiction of the pool of blood around Rick's head when he commits suicide. We see the pool before we are given the context of Rick's head on the pavement to let us know that it's blood. The neon lights from the roller disco are reflected in it, and at first it resembles an oil pool. When Holden walks through the museum thinking about his weekly class trips there as a child he says, "The only thing that would be dofferent would be you. Not that you'd be so much older or anything. It wouldn't be that exactly. You'd just be different, that's all. You'd have an overcoat on this time. Or the kid that was your partner in line last time had got scarlet fever and you'd have a new partner. Or you'd have a substitute taking the class, instead of Miss Aigletinger. Or you'd heard your mother and father having a terrific fight in the bathroom. Or you'd just passed one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them...". The rainbow puddle signifies a change in Six Degrees of Separation, as well: Paul is in real trouble now, as opposed to merely having a bunch of socialites sort of annoyed with him.
Perhaps the most significant CITR reference in the film, however, comes right at the end. Suddenly, in the midst of telling the anecdote of Paul to a table of impressive individuals over lunch, Ouisa finds herself having an alienating outburst somewhat similar to that of Holden in the restaurant at the skating rink when he attempts to explain to Sally just what it is that he finds so depressing and phony about the world in general. Ouisa suddenly has this Holden moment, hastily escapes the lunch party, and somehow in the process of running down the street, seems to figure some pretty big things out, at least momentarily. I think what makes this such a strong ending, at least from the CITR-heavy interpretation of this film, is that it reinforces the notion of Holden Caulfield as a sort of viral personality which can be passed from person to person. But Ouisa seems to understand the advantages of the Holden Caulfield condition, which is nice, because it means she doesn't have to end up in a mental hospital.
Separations between Catcher In The Rye and Six Degrees of Separation
If there are six people who link you to every other person in the world, there are also six moats or walls that separate you from every other person in the world. What Holden and Ouisa have in common is the realization in the midst of a world that seems so infinitely webbed with relationships that you can't turn around without dragging everyone else into a new position, the only real relationship you have is with yourself. On one hand, this is a comfort--you have no one to live up to, no responsibility to anyone but yourself. But as many people know who find themselves separated and literally self-reliant, there is no more severe judge or critic, no more vicious taskmaster than oneself. The relationships with others, real or imaginary, are in fact a relief from having to face the cruel face of our own consciences. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 21:38, 10 May 2007 (UTC).
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BetacommandBot 06:56, 27 October 2007 (UTC)