Catcher In The Rye Hypocrisy Analysis

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There comes a period of time when everyone starts to assume that they are surrounded by phoniness. This usually occurs during teenage years, when people are trying to figure out where they belong. The definition of a hypocrite is a person who contradicts his or her stated beliefs or feelings and a phony is a person or thing that is considered fake. The theme of hypocrisy and phoniness is evident through the actions of Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. When Holden is thrown into the real world after being thrown out of Pencey Prep, he finds himself surrounded by a world of “phony.” Holden uses the word “phony” to describe anything that he doesn’t approve of and continues to accuse everyone except for his sister, Phoebe, and his dead brother, Allie, of being one. This is hypocritical because Holden exemplifies his own phoniness during numerous occasions.
Holden’s description of himself as “the most terrific liar you have ever saw in your life” reveals his enthusiasm for lying. When Holden runs into his classmate’s mother, he starts to deceptively and enthusiastically ramble to her about her son’s shortcomings, revealing his dishonest identity:
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Perhaps you know my son, then, Ernest Morrow? He goes to Pencey.’ ‘Yes, I do,’ I said. Her son was doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, in the whole crumby history of the school...Then I started shooting the old crap around a little bit…’Old Ernie,’ I said. ‘He’s one of the most popular boys at Pencey. Did you know that?’...Old Mrs. Morrow didn’t say anything, but boy, you should’ve seen her. I had her glued to her seat. You take somebody’s mother, all they want to hear about is what a hot-shot their son is...’That’s Ernie. He wouldn’t. That’s the one fault with him-he’s too shy and modest. You really oughta get him to try to relax occasionally. (Salinger
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