Cather In The Rye Essay Research Paper

Cather In The Rye Essay, Research Paper

Holden Caulfield, the main character in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher

in the Rye, is what I believe to be one of the most well-developed

characters which I have read about. He has many characteristics that are

all his own, such as the way he views the world, his friends and his

family. One of the main things that characterizes Holden, is that way

that he thinks the entire world is “phony.”

Holden’s view of the world as “phony” is a very strong one, and

in most cases, is correct. Holden thinks that the majority of the

people in the world are putting on some sort of an act to impress or

befriend people. In a way, Holden is probably correct in thinking that

most of the people he came in contact with are “phony,” such as his

roommate at Pencey, Ward Stradlater. In one instance, Holden refers to

Stradlater as a “secret slob.” He describes how Stradlater always tries

to be neat and tidy on the outside so as to impress people, but how he

is not when you get to know him. In the scene where Holden and

Stradlater are in the “can,” and Stradlater is getting ready for a date,

Holden describes Stradlater’s razor as “rusty as hell and full of lather

and hair and crap.”

Another of Holden’s run-ins with “phonies,” came to him while he

was in New York City. He was lonely and looking for someone to keep him

company, so he calls a girl named Faith Cavendish. He was told about

Faith by a friend of his who went to Princeton, Eddie Birdsell. When he

calls Faith, she has no desire to talk to him whatsoever, and she makes

that quite clear, until Holden drops the name of Eddie, and she

instantly perks up at the thought that Holden might be an important

person. She asks Holden where he’s calling from, and he replies “a phone

booth,” and he tells her that he has no money, and she then tells Holden

that she has no time. The wat that Faith changes her mind so quickly

when she finds that Holden has no money is a prime example of the

“phonies” Holden encounters.

Another general example of what Holden thinks is “phony” is actors. He

talks about how D.B. took Phoebe and him to see “Hamlet,” and he talks

about Sir Laurence Olivier, and how the play would have been good,

except that Olivier “knew he was good, and that spoils it.” Holden says

how he can’t go to a play and pay attention to what the actor is saying

because he “has to keep worrying about whether he’s going to do

something phony every minute.”

Holden has another incident with phonies when he invites Sally Hayes on

a date. Holden takes her to a play, which he considers phony as it is,

but then at intermission, Sally meets a man who she hasn’t seen for

years, and they began a big phony act. Holden says,

“You’ve though that they hadn’t seen each other for twenty years they

probably even hugged and kissed checks and all.” This is the kind of

behavior that Holden obviously never grew up with, isn’t used to, and

doesn’t like.

Through his experiences in New York City, and his many flings with

phony women, Holden grows to believe that everyone in phony in some way.

He thinks that the whole world is phony, and it’s not likely that

everyone in the world is corrupted or “phony,” so is it possible that

all the characters in the novel are all really normal and Holden is

really the only “phony” one?


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