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Compare Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, Ray Kinsella from Shoeless Joe, and Martin Luther King, Jr., a non-violent civil rights activist.

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067630 The bulk of society has one generalized opinion on how life should be led. There are some people who reject these opinions and choose to follow their personal opinions, rather than the opinion of their society. Examples of these people are Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, Ray Kinsella from Shoeless Joe, and Martin Luther King, Jr., a non-violent civil rights activist. They all chose to follow their own visions to how a life should be led, which is a fundamental to living a fulfilled life. In Shoeless Joe, Ray Kinsella rejects the society he lives in. His society believes that success is having a large house and a great deal of money. The truth is that people who have attained all of this material wealth are not always happy. Ray does not care about how much money he has; instead he does what makes him happy. In Shoeless Joe, Ray's wife, Annie, says to him, "... If it makes you happy you should do it." ...read more.


This is what Holden considered real, just talking to people, something that stimulates the mind, such as the interpretative literature he always wants to read. When he visits his sister, Phoebe, he enjoys talking to her because she is one of the few people actually worth listening or talking to. When she says that just sitting there talking is not real, he goes off on how this is the only thing that is real, that society has lost sight of that. Society does not realize that experiencing other people is what makes life worth living. It is impossible to experience other people when one sits in front of a television or movie screen all day. What exasperates Holden is when people have what he calls phony conversations, such as the conversation Sally Hayes has with the boy from Andover and they talk about people they know just to make conversation, that is what people have reduced conversations to. These conversations are not authentic and Holden finds these ridiculous and boring. ...read more.


Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a famous speech in which he promoted the freedom of African-Americans. In this speech he said, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." King followed and pursued his dream, he lived his dream, and in the end he was a martyr for his dream. Unlike Ray and Holden, King was able to change his society for the better. None of these three people would ever compromise their opinions or beliefs just to adhere to the opinions or beliefs of their respective societies. Holden would not submit the superficiality of his society, Ray did not sacrifice the things that he enjoyed to attain material wealth, and Martin Luther King, Jr. did not buckle under the oppression of the white people. People should accept and respect the differences in the visions of others. Having the freedom and courage to live one's own vision is essential for leading a fulfilled life. ...read more.

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