Phoniness: Its Effect on Holden Caulfield’s Character and His View on Society Sample

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There comes a clip in life when one believes that they are surrounded by nil but fallaciousness and misrepresentation. In J. D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield. a 16-year-old male child. travels to New York to seek to get away the corrupt events that have transpired in his life. While in New York. he encounters many hard occasions which make him pull to the decision that he lives in a universe of “phoniness. ” Hypocrisy is a construct that Holden invariably refers to throughout the novel. Holden makes mention to the word “phony” fourty-four separate times throughout the novel ( Corbett 68-73 ) . Each clip he seems to be mentioning to the topic of this metaphor as — person who discriminates against others. is a dissembler about something. or has manifestations of conformance ( Corbett 71 ) . He believes that people are superficial and that the universe is soiled by “phoniness” . This is Holden`s manner of utilizing this as a agency to dissemble his ain insecurities and the “phoniness” within his ain character. As a consequence. Holden develops a “phony stigma” that he uses to place assorted animuss in his life. including himself.

For one. Holden frequently behaves like he is bigger than everyone around him. and points out the falseness in everyone else. Throughout the novel he meets many people who to him are nil but superficial such as: Sally Hayes. Carl Luce. Maurice and Sunny. and Mr. Spencer. They say and do things that keep up their visual aspects instead than reflecting what their true ideas and feelings are. Holden spends so much clip and energy seeking for the facet of phoniness in other people that he ne’er genuinely observes it within himself ( Phoniness in the Adult World ) . As a consequence. Holden tends to be highly judgmental of people. He views everyone in a negative mode and considers them to be nil but hypocrite. For illustration: when Holden calls Sally late at dark. he assumes that she merely came back place from a day of the month. He develops a mental image of what her day of the month may move like. in which he says. “All of them stating sophisticated material to each other and being capturing and phony” ( Salinger 151 ) . In add-on. when he is out on this day of the month. Sally ends up run intoing an old “friend” of hers named George Andover. Sing how they both interact with each other cholers Holden and causes him to mouth off about the whole state of affairs.

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This proves the fact that Holden is highly judgemental of other people. even people who he hasn’t even met. “You should hold seen the manner they said hullo. You’d had thought they hadn’t seen each other in 20 old ages. You’d have thought they’d taken baths in the same bathing tub or something when they were small childs. Old Buddyoos. It was sickening. The amusing portion was. they likely met each other merely one time. at some bogus party…He was the sort of hypocrite that have to give themselves room when they answer somebody’s question…It was the phoniest conversation you of all time heard in your life…The worst portion was. the dork had one of those really bogus Ivy League voices. He sounded merely like a girl” ( Salinger 127-128 ) Holden besides believes that the school system and instructors are bogus because they pretend to be helpful to pupils. in order to promote their ain self-importances. In the beginning. he obviously states his sentiment about the educational system. “One of the biggest grounds I left Elkton Hills was because I was surrounded by hypocrites.

That’s all. They were coming in the goddam window. For case. they had this schoolmaster. Mr. Haas. that was the phoniest asshole I of all time met in my life. Ten times worse than old Thurmer. On Sundays. for case. old Haas went around agitating custodies with everybody’s parents when they drove up to school. He’d be capturing as snake pit and all. Except if some male child had small old funny-looking parents. You should’ve seen the manner he did with my roommate’s parents. I mean if a boy’s female parent was kind of fat or corny-looking or something. and if somebody’s male parent was one of those cats that wear those suits with really large shoulders and corny black-and-white places. so old Haas would merely agitate custodies with them and give them a bogus smiling and so he’d travel talk. for possibly a half an hr. with person else’s parents. I can’t stand that material. It drives me brainsick. It makes me so down I go brainsick. I hated that blasted Elkton Hills” . ( Salinger 13-14 ) .

In this quotation mark. Holden is showing how he felt about Pency Prep and that he believed everyone to be superficial and posturing. He is faulting the instructors for his ain failures as a pupil at Pency Prep. every bit good as at his other schools. He is projecting his choler and defeat upon others. people who aren’t even the root cause of the job. He goes on later to state to Sally that boy’s schools are atrocious and that they are an abuse to today’s society. He points out all of the falseness within that surroundings. “You ought to travel to a boy’s school someday. Try it sometime. Its full of hypocrites and all you do is analyze so that you can larn adequate to be smart adequate to be able to purchase a goddam Cadillac someday. and you have to maintain doing believe you give a darn if the football squad loses. and all you do is speak about misss and spirits and sex all twenty-four hours. and everybody sticks together in these soiled small goddam cliques” ( Salinger 131 )

In general. Holden seems to happen phoniness in every facet of society. More specifically. he makes mention to the media when he is on the coach going to New York.

“If I’m on a train at dark I can usually read one of those dense narratives in a magazine without vomiting. You know. One of those narratives with a batch of hypocrite. thin jawed cats named David in it. and a batch of bogus misss named Linda or Marcia that are ever illuming all the goddam David’s pipes for them” ( Salinger 53 )

This accentuates the fact that he believes society is soiled by the impression of phoniness. He even begins to do mention to simple words and phrases that he despises “If there’s a word I hate. it’s expansive. It’s so phony” ( 106 ) . His hate for phoniness has deepened so greatly that it has resorted to him turning against common words in the English linguistic communication. Finally. when he is speaking to Mr. Antolini ( his front-runner instructor at Elkton Hills ) about his abomination for society and the people who inhabit it. Mr Antolini responds by stating:

“Among other things. you’ll find that you’re non the first individual who was of all time confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You’re by no agencies entirely on that mark ; you’ll be excited and stimulated to cognize. Many. many work forces have been merely as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily. some of them kept records of their problems. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday. if you have something to offer. person will larn something from you. It’s a beautiful mutual agreement. And it isn’t instruction. It’s history. It’s poesy. ” ( Salinger 189 ) He states that Holden is non the lone individual who sees worlds and their behavior as being ugly. However. the difference between Mr. Antolini and Holden is that. unlike Mr. Antolini. Holden has a great hatred for society and the “phoniness” that dwells within it. Because of this stigma that Holden has branded upon society. he shows animus for everyone and everything about him. Consequently. his character has gone through a important alteration because of this.

As a consequence of his hatred towards phoniness. Holden becomes hypocritical about everything around him. He doesn’t see the positive side to a state of affairs. merely the negative. As a consequence. by back uping the fact that in his head the whole universe is faulty. he is the lone 1 who appears to be in the slightest sense “normal” . This thought is supported when Holden and Sally are on their day of the month at the films when they decide to travel outside for fresh air. He says: “At the terminal of the first act. we went out with all the other dorks for a coffin nail. What a trade that was. You ne’er saw so many hypocrites in all your life. everyone smoking their ears off and speaking about the drama so that everyone could hear and cognize how crisp they were. ” ( Salinger 126 )

In add-on. his delusory nature supports the fact that he is a compulsive prevaricator. For illustration. on the train to New York. he commits an act of misrepresentation on Mrs. Morrow ( the female parent of Edward Morrow. a male child who attends Pency Prep ) . in which he showered her with prevarications and gave her a false sense of pride. While his hatred towards phoniness is really strong. he lies to Mrs. Morrow. He doesn’t see this act as being malicious ; nevertheless what Holden doesn’t realize is that when he lies to other people he is technically considered to be his ain definition of “phony” . The universe is non every bit simple as Holden wants it to be. Therefore. it affects Holden’s ability to construe society and command the manner he acts. even though he can’t even conform to the same impartial criterions that he Judgess other people.

Holden believes that he is the prototype of truth in a universe of phoniness and that he has no issues whatsoever. However his jobs recede deeper than what he believes them to be. Holden has many jobs which prevent him from seeing the truth of why his life is bad. Although he’d like to believe that the universe is a simple topographic point. Holden contradicts the fact that he is merely seeing one side of society while disregarding the other. ( the universe dwelling of two sides. in which virtuousness and artlessness remainder on one piece shallowness and phoniness remainder on the other ) . Because of this. he becomes obstinate of the fact that society is wholly bogus and that there is no good in the universe. Finally. in his overwhelming hatred for phoniness. Holden himself becomes a victim to fallaciousness. which causes him to belie himself and his relationships with others. In the beginning. Holden sees himself as perfect and that it is society’s mistake that he is down. But while he is mouth offing about how society is bogus. he ends up naming himself a hypocrite in the procedure. He says: “I figured that anybody that hates the films every bit much as I do. I’d be a bogus if I let them lodge me in a film short” ( Salinger 77 )

This is the first clear indicant that he admits himself to be a “phony” . However. he begins to recognize that it is non society that is bogus ; it is really his character that is acquiring in the manner of him seeing the truth. In add-on to naming himself a hypocrite. he besides admits to being a prevaricator. He states: “I’m the most terrific prevaricator you of all time saw in your life. It’s atrocious. If I’m on my manner to the shop to purchase a magazine. even. and person asks me where I’m traveling. I’m apt to state I’m traveling to the opera. It’s awful. ” ( Salinger 16 ) By acknowledging to the fact that he is a prevaricator. he besides admits to a major defect in his character. that defect being pretension. As a consequence of all this. Holden does non open up to others and avoids societal interaction wherever possible. He is so frightened of going what he considers erroneous. that he avoids undergoing new experiences. In the terminal. Holden comes to footings with the fact that he is far from perfect and that he is the ground behind all of the devastation in his life.

His downward spiral into the universe of phoniness caused him to lose those who were near to him and his connexion with world ( as per his hallucination affecting the Catcher in the Rye ) . Harrison Smith has defined Holden’s friendly relationships clearly “What was incorrect with Holden was his moral repugnance against anything that was ugly. immorality. cruel. or what he called ‘phony’ and his ague reactivity to beauty and artlessness. particularly the artlessness of the really immature. ” ( Smith ) . Hypocrisy was a cardinal factor in finding Holden’s result in his life. Because of Holden’s close connexion with lip service. it was concluded that he was the true ‘phony’ of the narrative. The fact that he considered the whole universe and everyone who inhabited it to be “phony” . merely proves the insecurities Holden had with himself. He projected his ain insecurities upon society and forced those around him to see his torments. The ultimate drive force behind the narrative is that in order to seek out the truth in society. you must detect the falseness within yourself.

Plants Cited

Corbett. Edward P. J. “Raise High the Barriers. Censors. ” The National Catholic Weekly Review America. Chicago. 7 January 1961. Rpt. in If You Truly Want to Know: A “Catcher” Casebook. Phoniness in the Adult World. n. d. Website. 2 December 2012. Salinger. J. D. Catcher in the Rye. New York City. NY: Little. Brown and Company. 1951. Book. Search Quotes. n. d. Website. 3 December 2012.

Smith. Harrison. “Manhattan Ulysses. Junior. ” Saturday Review of Literature. Boston. MA: Little. Brown & A ; Co. 1951. 1. Book.

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Phoniness: Its Effect on Holden Caulfield’s Character and His View on Society Sample. (2017, Sep 04). Retrieved from

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