We see Holden’s fear of phonies shine throughout The Catcher in the Rye. Why does he have this fear? Shouldn’t someone who acts tough and often brags know that they will never become a phony? The answer would be yes if Holden wasn’t so insecure. Holden’s childish ways cause him to never mature and figure out who he is as a person.
The following essay will argue and explain Holden’s view on authenticity, phoniness, truth, and his quest for answers to all his existential questions. Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye is a wealthy adolescent who cynically rejects the superficiality of post-war America and no longer tolerates the empty values of his society, therefore in his personal view he regards superficial people as “phonies”, for they are neither truthful towards their selves nor authentic. In Holden’s quest of self-discovery his view on truth is recognised when he feels sorry for pretentious liars like Lillian Simmons and has a strong sense of fairness as he tries to correct injustice and unfairness. On this existential self-discovery quest, Holden finds himself questioning life and gains enduringly endearing qualities which establishes his views. The perception of authenticity can be described as the notion that people ask questions about the substance of directorial standards of society, and consequently they discard certain behavioural enigmas of the society which they belong to.
It should be noted that his inaccurate view of reality, though mildly problematic at times, is not as completely negative as the connotation holds. Rather, this altered view draws a rather fantastical view of life for Don Quijote as everything he sees has relations with the knight-errantry. He sees a barber’s basin as a helmet, and is able to interpret most of his misfortunes as a result of an enchanter. For Rameau’s Nephew, Him’s madness is mostly characteristic of unconventional thoughts. He does not necessarily align to expected social norms, and lives his life according to his own needs.
For instance, the abrupt and unknown death of his brother, Allie, petrifies and confuses him. Holden alway had trouble dealing with this kind of complexity. Another example occurred in Chapter 22 when "And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day.
He realizes that his peers are growing up, and are slowly being “molded” into beings of society. Though he admits himself to being a compulsive liar, he is condescending of their “fake” and socially accepted attitudes. Perhaps by partially admitting his own “fakeness” and simply being aware of “phoniness” in the world, he believes he is setting himself apart from all those he believes to be
He is dissatisfied with what is expected of him and is trying to grow up in his own honest way. The Catcher in the Rye is not about Holden so much as it is about society and its inability to deal with anybody who doesn’t follow the crowd and put up a certain front. In Holden’s case, society creates his problems by imposing rules on the life he cannot play
He knows that the school doesn’t want him to be there anymore, his roommate almost beat him unconscious, and his parents will only be disappointed when they know that he has been expelled from yet another school. For Holden, it seems like there is no one else to turn to, except his younger sister Phoebe who he can’t see unless he goes home. Teenagers all across America feel this same sort of detachment from the rest of society. Only one thing going wrong could cause the rest of our worlds to collapse. Holden ended up trying to live on the streets when he ran out of money, and as the story progressed, he dug himself into a larger hole of loneliness.
They know someone was coming after them, so Jem tells Scout to run. “I ran in the direction of Jem’s scream and sank into a flabby male stomach” (351). The fact that Scout runs towards Jem when they know someone is after them proves that Lee defines bravery as taking action even though one can be scared because not many people would run into a dangerous situation when others tell them to run away. Scout chooses to put her fear to the side to try and save her brother. Another example of this type of bravery is when Scout, Jem, and Dill go to the Radley Place even though they are scared.
His central theme is the struggle of growing up in a world full of “phonies”. Instead of admitting that adulthood scares him, Holden creates a fantasy that adulthood is a world of hypocrisy and dishonesty, while childhood is the reverse. “Holden’s Irony in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye” by Lisa Privitera the writer clarifies, in her review of the Catcher in the Rye, she indicates that Holden has allowed himself to live in the absurdity of the world. He wants to search for a solution about his place in the world, but he does not do anything to proceed his quest. His final words, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything.
Is ignorance bliss? Or can true happiness come only from knowledge? In Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, the protagonist, Guy Montag, lives in a futuristic, dystopian version of the United States in which knowledge is frowned upon, ignorance runs rampant, and uniformity is imperative. To fit in with the societal assumption that sameness equates to happiness, Guy feels he must conform and play the part of a contented citizen. However, Guy frequently finds himself questioning the validity of his society’s mindless, materialistic approach to life.
The protagonist, Equality 7-2521, challenges these concepts. In fact, despite living in this regimented society, he seeks individuality, suffers for his idealism, and comes of age despite disillusionment. Equality possesses an inner quality that causes him to seek individuality. To begin, seeking individuality is forbidden in his society, so he is forced
Twain concludes the character’s moral journeys by demonstrating how they escape pressures put upon them by society. In Twain’s story, “The conflict between what people think they stand for and what social pressure forces them to do is central to the model” In the end, Tom’s morality is questionable because he focuses on himself instead of Jim thus creating a contrast between himself and Huck and different moralities and characterizing the two boys. A shift in Huck’s character is demonstrated when he tells Tom Don’t do nothing of the kind; it’s one of the most jackass ideas I ever struck.”By this point in the book, Huck is able to stand up for what he thinks is right. Instead of blindly following Tom, he is able to voice his own opinion and stand up for what he believes is true. This contrasts with the beginning of the novel where he was desperate to join Tom’s gang of robbers.
The concept of "the catcher in the rye," shows Salinger’s and Holden’s love and fascination in children. Holden daydreams about standing at the edge of a rye field catching any children that are too close to the edge of the cliff of the rye field and are about to fall off the cliff. To Holden, the children falling off this cliff symbolizes them falling into adulthood and losing their innocence. Holden likes children because of their innocence and because of the fact that they cannot be “phonies” because of their innocence. Holden views adults and teenagers as “phonies” and therefore does not give them respect.