Phoniness and Innocence in The Catcher in the Rye Essay

There comes a time when everyone has to say good-bye to their teenage years and become a grownup. The carefree childhood will be challenged by strains and expectations. Those reluctant to face them are destined fail. Holden Caulfield, the 16-year-old protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, is among the adolescents who question the attraction of being a grownup. Soon before Christmas getaway, Holden has actually been expelled from an elite prep school in Pennsylvania.

Disinclined to stay at the school any longer or return house, Holden decides to spend a few days in New york city City. Throughout his tour, he meets different people that he calls “phonies”. The frequent use of the word has a deeper meaning than it might appear at first appearance. Holden’s fixation with phoniness shows his conflict with the hypocritical adult world.

The word “fake” has a special significance for Holden. He utilizes it to describe people that pretend to be someone else in order to feel superior.

They lie to themselves and to others. This deceptiveness does not always take place purposely. For instance, the very first so-called phony that Holden points out is Mr. Ossenburger, who made a lot of money by burying people with inexpensive funerals. He says that this man “came up to school in this huge goddam Cadillac, and we all needed to stand in the grandstand and give him a locomotive– that’s a cheer” (16 ). Holden calls him a phony due to the fact that Ossenburger discuss stability and praying to Jesus in his speech to the students while he benefits from grieving households. In addition, the school is fake due to the fact that they invited him and called a dorm after him only since he offered the school cash. This hypocrisy bothers Holden quite. Whether it is a stereotype provided in a movie, or the expression “grand”, he classifies them into the category “fake”.

Holden’s hatred towards phoniness is closely gotten in touch with his securing nature. In his mind, phoniness is an element of the adult years. Being an adult methods being forced to deal with issues and make compromises. Grown-ups need to conceal their weaknesses in order to make it through. Therefore, maturing inevitably implies being bogus. Reverse to that, kids do not have to act a specific way to attain something. Consequently, innocence is the reverse of phoniness, and maturing indicates to lose your innocence and become counterfeit.

Therefore, Holden wishes to secure the innocence and pureness of young children, hoping that they would never ever be challenged with the ugliness of the adult world. This protective impulse results in an adoration and idealization of kids, especially his more youthful sibling Phoebe and his dead sibling Allie. Holden wishes to be the catcher in the rye, someone who captures children that tip over the edge of an imaginary field of rye down the cliff into the corrupt their adult years. When he sees “fuck you” written on the walls in his sis’s school and in the museum, he tries to erase it however ultimately understands that he can’t eliminate all the curses worldwide. Kids will constantly, eventually, be challenged with sexuality.

This pessimistic view of the world affects him in a damaging manner in which eventually results in his breakdown. Holden sees the world in black and white. Some individuals are bogus, others are not. However, he fears that he is gradually ending up being a fake himself. “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw” (9 ), he confesses. Alone his judgemental remarks show how confused and insecure he is. On one hand, he tries to act experienced and mature when speaking with adults, but on the other hand, he frantically attempts to keep the innocence of himself and others. He attempts to protect himself by utilizing a cynical voice throughout the novel, however this only keeps him pushed away from his environment. With every dissatisfaction, his rejection grows, and a mental breakdown is inevitable. He walks in New york city, shouting out his dead brother’s name. Only Phoebe, his younger sister, can show him his real situation and keep him from leaving truth and becoming mad. Still, he winds up in a mental organization in California.

Holden struggles in between the phoniness of the adult years and the innocence of childhood. He is caught in between the 2 worlds. His rejection to grow up keeps him isolated. His previous English teacher, Mr Antollini, encourages him to start applying himself in the next school. He tells him that Wilhelm Stekel as soon as stated, “The mark of the immature guy is that he wants to pass away nobly for a cause, while the mark of the fully grown male is that he wishes to live humbly for one” (). Finally, Holden comprehends that quiting isn’t the service to his issue, and he shows that he may attempt harder in the future. Maybe Holden isn’t a lot of an outsider after all.

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