Catcher in the Rye is a story of an alienated boy whose life is driven by expectations of society and the path in life his parents have chosen for him. The major theme that this book entails is the idea of conformity, and its dangers. Taking that into account, the main character, Holden Caulfield decides to take a roundabout route in life and enjoy himself a little bit more. Part of the reason he decides to do so is because he is insecure, and heâ€™s still exploring, particularly to discover who he is. In order to do so he needs to wait until he can come of age and in turn discover that he is the Catcher in the Rye. Meanwhile, while heâ€™s still exploring this world full of phonies, he tries to deal with personal affairs. Having failed out of three â€œprepâ€ schools his parents sent him to, most recently from Pencey, he intends to do whatever it takes to broaden his horizons. Previously during a final visit to his history teacher Old Spencer, he tells him "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." Holden doesnâ€™t agree with this train of thought mainly because he thinks that only phonies abide by the rules and he sort of loses respect for his mentor. So he leaves Pencey early on an account that he has been maimed on a personal level, and because he feels like there is more to life. When he leaves this enclosed environment he reminisces about key things in his life, such as the people who inspired him like James Castle who jumped out of the building for calling a phony conceited, Phoebe his sister, and Allie â€œthe wizard,â€ and he also reflects on those who contributed negatively and are in fact these phonies.
This idea of conformity also appears in the movie â€œDead Poetâ€™s society.â€ Taking place in one of the most prestigious prep schools in the US, the students that attend it are expected to abide by all its rules and regulations so that they can move on successfully to become doctors and lawyers.