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What novel can I study that explores the "difference of two worlds" and is also...

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lydiakritikos | eNoter

Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM via web

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What novel can I study that explores the "difference of two worlds" and is also  comparable to Bride and Prejudice and The Truman Show? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:52 AM (Answer #1)

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One work that explores the difference between two worlds is Salinger's A Catcher in the Rye.  Holden is driven to expose the world of "phonies" and engage in truth as a part of his journey.  The worlds of established "phonies" and the world where Holden's true reality lies are explored in the work.  As with Truman Burbank, Holden must struggle with what appears to be and what actually is, seeking to bring out reality in that which is phony.  Just as Lalita struggles to find true love and happiness, Holden struggles to find his own construction of happiness in a world determined to deny it.  Holden's fundamental battle to find reality through a world of illusion is something that Lalita and Truman both experience.

The inclusion of Bride and Prejudice got me thinking of Indian novels.  I would think that Vikas Swarup's Q and A might be interesting on a couple of levels.  There are two distinct worlds examined in the novel.  The world of wealth and privilege in which Ram looks at from a distance and then with his participation on the quiz ahow is one reality.  This is contrasted with the world of painful and abject poverty in which Ram lives.  For Ram, both worlds collide with his unexepcted success on the quiz show.  Underlying all of this is the true love he holds for Nita.  Ram's desire to break through what is expected of him into a world where he can be who he wishes to be is similar to Truman.  He wishes to be seen as more than an impoverished beggar and as someone who wants to be with the woman he loves.  One is immediately reminded of Truman's neverending love for Sylvia/ Lauren.  At the same time, Ram searches for "the truth" in reality which he finds in his love for Nita.  He rejects the social conditions that tell him this love is infeasible or not socially sanctioned because he is poor and she is a prostitute.  This rejection of what is in the hopes of what can and should be is akin to Lalita's journey of exploration and affirmation of self.  Like Lalita, Ram will not accept what society says for him and embraces truth and self over anything else.  Swarup's work explores the differences between externally designed appearances and what exists under them.  Like both films, there is an affirmation of the individual making a choice after straddling two different worlds.

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