, Research Paper
The book Catcher in the Rye tells of Holden Caulfield’s insight aboutlife and the world around him. Holden shares many of his opinions aboutpeople and leads the reader on a 5 day visit into his mind. Holden,throughout the book, made other people feel inferior to his own. I canrelate to this because although I do not view people inferior to myself, Ido judge others unequally. Holden and I both have similar judgements ofpeople from the way they act and behave. We also share feelings aboutmotivation as well as lack of it. After reading this book, I came to theconclusion that Holden and I are much more similar than I initiallybelieved. Holden portrayed others to be inferior to his own kind all throughoutthe book. He made several references as to how people aren’t as perfect ashe was. “The reason he [Stradlater] fixed himself up to look good wasbecause he was madly in love with himself.” (pg. 27) Holden had aninferiority complex. He was afraid of not having any special talents orabilities and used other methods to make him out to be a rough tough boy.”Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o’clock or so, getting drunkas a bastard. I could hardly see straight.” (pg. 150) Holden tried all hecould to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make itseem he was very knowing of these habits. I myself have found me doing thisat times, also. I, at times, feel the need to fit in to a group and dothings similar to what others do in order to gain acceptance by them. Ismoked a cigar once with two friends of mine because they kept going on andon about how great cigars were, but that was only once. Holden and I bothplace people on levels other than our own for amount of knowledge andlikeness to ourselves. Holden used the term ‘phonies’ to describe more than a few people inthis book. He used the term to be what a person is if they don’t actnaturally and follow other people’s manners and grace. Holden didn’t likephonies, he thought of them as if they were trying to show off. He didn’tlike it when they showed off because it seemed so fake and unnatural everytime they would do so. “At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about
the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they were.” (pg. 126) I know many people like this as well. I do not like phonies either. Ihave many friends who talk using full vocabulary just to try to impressyou, and others who make note of everything they see to show you howperceptible they are. People do this when they have a fear of their ownindividuality and feel that they need to ace different to get people tolike them. Holden and I both dislike phonies. We do not like people whotake on roles of others to seem more likeable because they are insecure. Throughout the book Holden displays a lack of motivation for manythings in which he should do. Holden couldn’t even call up an oldgirlfriend whom he knew a long time ago. “But when I got inside this phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood any more to give old Jane a buzz.” (Pg. 150) Holden also had a problem getting his motivation together in order tocomplete schoolwork and succeed in his prep school. I have similar problemswith my motivation and find at times I must be in the mood to do somethingin order for me to accomplish it. This stems from our experience in thepast being that we can get through life, or the part we’ve been throughalready, with minimal effort. Holden has had this opportunity to noticethis as his parents have been shuffling him around to different schoolsevery time he flunks. He feels his parents will be there to move himsomewhere else and take care of him every time something goes wrong. Ifound out in eighth grade that the schoolwork I had was far less than theschoolwork I did and I began to slack off, this caused me to believe that Icould get away with minimal true effort in my schoolwork and it has alsofollowed me into other courses of my daily routine. I find my forgettingto do things and having my parents doing them for me. I find I ambasically pampered to my every will and need at home. This is a bad habitthough and I am trying to get out of this lifestyle because I realize Iwon’t always have someone to fall back on. Holden and I both have similarmotivational problems stemming from our childhood. Holden Caulfield and I are very similar in many ways. We tend to judgedifferent people similar ways. We both dislike people who act phonybecause of insecurity. We also both lack motivation because of previouschildhood experiences which have shaped our lives. Holden Caulfield and Ihave began our great journey through life with similar ideas to each other.