• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, struggled to withstand the "phony" characters and personalities of the people in the New York society where which he lived.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Fernando Moura Due October 17, 2002 Ms. Williams C band Catcher In The Rye Essay Holden Caulfield, in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, struggled to withstand the "phony" characters and personalities of the people in the New York society where which he lived. He criticized their fake personalities and insincere actions to the only person that he could confide in, his little sister, Phoebe. He believed she, besides himself, was one of the only people that wasn't "phony". His second younger brother, Allie, who died of leukemia, was one of the only people that Holden really valued as well. "Phony" is the best word to describe what Holden felt about many people. He was constantly using the word to describe colleagues, teachers, and acquaintances. While Holden was constantly criticizing people's phoniness, he wasn't acting too differently himself. Phony, to Holden, meant hiding the truth, not saying what you really felt, and being hypocritical, just to receive acceptance in society. There were many times, though, when Holden's actions contradicted his values and beliefs, thus making him like everyone else that he judged. Holden tried to make himself superior over society by criticizing their fake ways because this was the only way that he could feel different from all of the phonies. One of Holden's hypocritical actions was to lie just for the fun of it. ...read more.

Middle

Holden, also like a good phony, would lie so that his state of thought would be accepted. He had quite a few teachers that were concerned about his future, and they gave him advice on what his plans for life should be. An example of one of these teachers is Mr. Spencer. He was Holden's History teacher and he was personally interested in the well being of Holden. He invited him over to his house one day, where they struck up a conversation that Holden found quite insolent and helpless. While Mr. Spencer was giving Holden advice and telling him the "truth about life," Holden was completely disagreeing with him, but he failed to tell him, and instead of being honest, he lied to him. Spencer said, " 'Life is a game my boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.' 'Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it.' Game, my ass. Some game...the other side, where there aren't any hot-shots, then what's game about it? Nothing. No game" (8). Holden's internal dialogue was completely contradictory to his actions here. This was the mentality of the perfect "phony," saying one thing, and thinking something completely different. Of course, Holden was lying to Spencer because he was seeking acceptance from him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later that night, Holden finds Mr. Antolini padding his head while he was sleeping. Holden immediately puts his clothes on and leaves, and lies to Antolini telling him that he had to go to the train station to get his bags because he left all of his money in there (192). Holden likes and respects Mr. Antolini, and says that he is best teacher that he's ever had, yet he can't even be honest with him. It is understandable that Holden has had several encounters with "perverty" guys, but Holden should know how to differentiate between people that care about him, and people that don't. He's just "too good" to make any exceptions, and given that Holden has a lot of respect for Antolini, he is acting quite hypocritical by being so dishonest with him. The only difference between Holden and "phonies", is that Holden likes to point out and criticize their "phoniness", while the "phonies" just live their lives in a more normal way. By doing this, he automatically thinks that he is the "different superior" one, and that nobody else can see what he sees because they are too blinded by their own "phoniness". Being dishonest, having "compulsive lying disorder", and being a hypocrite, are all forms of "phoniness", and all of these features combined together, make up a "phony" person. Criticizing others in things that you do yourself is not going to make you superior; it will make you equal to them., and this, is what Holden failed to see. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level J.D. Salinger section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level J.D. Salinger essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the view that in "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and "Catcher in ...

    4 star(s)

    These lies may also change the way we think about Holden as for all he has to say about everyone else he is really just a hypocrite there are moments in the novel when we get a glimpse of Holden as others might see him, for example when he gets

  2. Peer reviewed

    'Holden's quest is an impossible one; it is a quest for the preservation of ...

    4 star(s)

    'he empathises with the vulnerable and feels more comfortable with the role of protector than with that of sexual predator'. By remaining a virgin, Holden remains on his quest to prevent innocence's corruption. Furthermore, innocence is put under threat by old age and death, depressing reminders of the inevitability of change and adulthood.

  1. a letter to holden caulfield

    Much like how you must have felt when Allie died. It sure is depressing when a family member passes away and you have no one to confess your problems to. Anyway I must admit dad was pretty cooperative when I insisted on changing my school a month back because I couldn't adjust with the kind of phonies it had.

  2. Relationships with Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"

    Returning home and seeing Phoebe again makes Holden forget his problems and feel relaxed and good about himself. He says, "I felt swell, for a change. I didn't even feel like I was getting pneumonia or anything anymore." Holden has assured the reader all along that Phoebe understands him best.

  1. Theme in The Catcher in the Rye.

    It occurs in Chapter 22, after Holden has slipped quietly back into his apartment and is speaking with Phoebe. They talk, argue, and then reconcile, and Phoebe asks Holden what he wants to do with his life. Holden responds with this image, which reveals his fantasy of idealistic childhood and of his role as the protector of innocence.

  2. How does JD Salinger use the character of Holden Caulfield to explore the issues ...

    "care for a cocktail", all this behaviour comes across as very mature, but is all contradicted by Holden's lies. Throughout the novel Holden has a habit of making up a new identity for himself, "'Rudolf Schmidt,' I told her" and he lies about everything about himself, "Once I get started, I can go for hours".

  1. How Does J.D. Salinger present Holden's ''separateness'' from other people in 'Catcher In The ...

    However this does not stop Holden from having a very strong desire to protect the innocence of those around him, such as when he visited Phoebe's school and tried to rub out all the profanity, and after the prostitute incident, 'I felt like jumping out of the window.

  2. To what extent do the authors of The Outsider and The Catcherin the Rye ...

    In The Outsider, Camus' first-person perspective allows the reader to become much more intimate with Meursault and hence witness through his eyes, the pressure that society places on him. Likewise, in The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is also portrayed as the protagonist who narrates events in a first-person perspective.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work