Literary Precedents for The Last Picture Show

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While J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (1951; see separate entry) is a literary precursor to The Last Picture Show—both have the theme of disaffected youth searching for something with meaning, realizing that their current lives are either wasted or insignificant—Holden Caulfield is a much more intelligent character than the Thalia trio of Sonny, Duane, and Jacy. He sees the falsity of his world right away; that he must suffer it throughout the novel in an aware state may be why he ends up emotionally broken, while Sonny is still confused and drifting.

In addition, Thomas Landess notes that the portrayal of the fundamentalist religion, hypocrisy, and social stratification of Thalia is reminiscent of the small towns (such as Gopher Prairie) of Sinclair Lewis; Landess notes that Lewis "did for the Midwest what McMurtry does in the 1960s for his native state."

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This section contains 143 words
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