Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Representations of Buddhism in Western Culture

"I mean it's very hard to meditate and live a spiritual life in America."
-J.D. Salinger, from "Teddy"

Essay to be written on the following representations of Buddhist characters in literature and film:

a. Teddy McArdle; "Teddy", by J.D. Salinger, 1953 (Vedic)
b. Ray Smith; "The Dharma Bums", by Jack Kerouac, 1958
c. Maude; "Harold and Maude"; by Colin Higgins, directed by Hal Ashby, played by Ruth Gordon, 1971
d. Agent Dale Cooper; "Twin Peaks", by David Lynch and Mark Frost, played by Kyle MacLachlan, 1990
e. Mike Mahoney Lobsang Dhargey; "The Lay of the Land", by Richard Ford, 2006

Thesis: The trajectory of these five characters, representing, to a certain degree, the integration of Buddhism into western culture, shows a gradual assimilation of the Buddhist individual deeper and deeper to western society.

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