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The consumerism that engulfed the American society in the mid and late twentieth century brought forth an ideological notion that America was a utopian paradise where everybody had an opportunity to prosper. The American Dream is a national ethos that become popular during this period claiming that the country has all to offer, so long as one endeavours to achieve them. This ethos of the American Dream was portrayed by various literature works, however, some literature works rejected this idea, and portrayed the fact that in reality, this was nothing but a rhetorical slogan. Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Ball Jar’ and J. D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ are critically acclaimed examples of some of the literature works that rejected this consumerism and became very popular in the American post-World War II era.
The Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar by J.D. Salinger and Sylvia Plath are both classic young readers fiction novels that chronicle enigmatic young adults navigating their coming of age struggles. Both novels targets their main characters typical feelings of teenage angst and alienation, and thus highlights the common struggle for all maturing juveniles trying to find inner harmony amid the transition from adolescence into adulthood.
This captivating depiction of relatable teenage struggles in a time of great prosperity for America, has provoked the question ‘How do Salinger and Plath portray the death of The Great American Dream in ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘The Bell Jar?’. The thrust of this essay will be how the setting, style of writing and characterizations of both protagonists demonstrate this myth of ‘The Great American Dream.’
The settings of both novels play pivotal roles in conveying the themes prevalent throughout the book, and adding context to the plot.
Author’s style is another important literary aspect that allows deeper analysis into each novel. Plath and Salinger’s styles echo each other, both paralleling one another through ideas about consumerism, teenage alienation and societal pressures. However, ‘The Bell Jar’ exhibits

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The consumerism that engulfed the American society in the mid and late twentieth century brought forth an ideological notion that America was a utopian paradise where everybody had an opportunity to prosper. (2019, Mar 04). Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://midwestcri.org/the-consumerism-that-engulfed-the-american-society-in-the-mid-and-late-twentieth-century-brought-forth-an-ideological-notion-that-america-was-a-utopian-paradise-where-everybody-had-an-opportunity-to-p/

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