Phoniness- The True Face And The

False Face Essay, Research Paper

Phoniness: The True Face And The False Face

What happen if everyone in the world is wearing a mask?

That is exactly what this world is; everyone wears a mask. Most

people we see every day have their true identity hidden behind a

facade. Although a true identity cannot be divulge just by looking,

but with a careful scrutiny of one’s character will reveal to what

is behind the facade. Equivalent to what happened in J.D. Salinger’s

novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Holden Caulfield, a typical teenager in the 50’s with a

morally loose, rude and obscene personality. However, his rudeness is

just a mask that he uses to cover his decent, sympathetic, and mature

character inside. Throughout the entire story, Holden uses unchaste

language to offense himself. The use of these words may insult the

reader, but the truth is, he is building a facade so that he can obtain

the approval he feels they have oppose him thus far. As a teenager,

the critical period of his life, Holden struggled to find the meaning

of life, and his survival, they easily depressed Holden demands their

company, even though he calls them “phonies.” Holden is really a decent

and mature teenager, but he only hides behind the false front to obtain

the approval. In the meantime, he tries to find the meaning of his

existence. There’s Holden’s false front, a rude and without standard

teen, but what’s behind it are important. A decent, sympathetic and

mature teen lies behind the mask. The only time he reveals these

distinctions is when he comes to some points and some people, especially

children. For example, when Holden decide to go to the west, he wrote

a note to Phoebe to tell her that meets him at the museum. While he

was waiting, there’s two kids that came up and asked Holden where is

the mummies, he stated:

“. . . The one little kid, the one that asked me, had his pants

open. I told him about it. So he buttoned them up right

where he was standing talking to me–he didn’t even bother

to go behind a post or anything. I would’ve laughed . . .”

In addition, Holden displayed maturity at one point. A

positive incident took place with his old girl friend, Jane Gallagher.

While Holden and Jane were playing checkers, Mr. Cudahy, Jane’s

stepfather, asked Jane if there’s any cigarettes in the house. Jane

didn’t answer, so he left. Then Jane dropped a tear on the checkerboard.

It bothered Holden for a while. Then Jane began to cry, and Holden

kissed her. He also asked if Mr. Cudahy “. . . had ever tried to get

wise with her.” Jane replied no, although, Holden still remain concerned

on every problem she had. Holden’s maturity shows us he has a grown-up

heart behind the mask.

Furthermore, Holden also demonstrate his sensitivity, especially

on children. For instance, Holden’s brother, Allie, and his sister,

Phoebe, had a major impact on Holden. He loves Phoebe, his little sister.

He loved her so much, he says: “You never saw a little kid so pretty and

smart in your whole life.” Then when Holden decided to go west, Phoebe

wanted to go with him. That’s when he knows he needs to face the true

self, his reality. He also delighted by his younger brother, Allie. He

stated that Allie is a nice boy. Allie loved to write poems, so he wrote

poetry all over his own baseball mitt. Holden kept Allie’s baseball mitt

after Allie died of leukemia. When his brother died, Holden was so upset

that he broke all the windows in the garage with his fists. Subsequently,

Holden wanted to be the “Catcher in the Rye,” but he now realized that he

cannot “catch (or safe) all the children that started to go over the cliff.”

Thus, Holden’s mask is just a false front, a facade. But what’s

behind it is the most important. He uses the language to find the meaning

of life, his existence. The true Holden shows his decent heart, sympathy

and maturity.


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