Thursday, September 19, 2019
Catcher in the Rye Essay: Rebel with a Delicate Psyche :: Catcher Rye Essays
J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye provides a provocative inquiry into the crude life of a depressed adolescent, Holden Caulfield. Without intensive analysis and study, Holden appears to be a clearly heterosexual, vulgar yet virtuous, typical youth who chastises phoniness and decries adult evils. However, this is a fallacy. The finest manner to judge and analyze Holden is by his statements and actions, which can be irrefutably presented. Holden Caulfield condemns adult corruption and phoniness but consistently misrepresents himself and is a phony as well as a hypocrite. Holden criticizes phonies although he engages in phony conversations and uses 'phony' words. Before he leaves Pencey Prep, in his visit with Mr. Spencer, Holden partakes in an obviously phony conversation. During their talk old Spencer uses the term "grand" (p7) which infuriates Holden, "Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phony" (p9). But he had already used the word "nice" (p1) and later uses the word "swell" (p124) both of which are 'phony.' Later, while he was on the train he struck up a phony conversation with Mrs. Morrow. In order to elicit pity from her, and misrepresent himself, he explained his reason for going home early was not that he was flunking classes (the truth) but, that he had "to have this operation" (p58). Holden deceives others by misrepresenting himself and acting phony. Holden is a hypocrite because he continually enjoys what he virulently condemns. He proclaims that he hates "the movies like prison" (p29). However, he goes to the movies. He also states, "I don't like any shows" (p117) and, "I don't like [the Lunts]" (p125), even though he purposely bought tickets for Sally and him to watch the Lunts. Once in the theater, he expounds, "the show wasn't as bad as some I've seen" (p125). Holden is insolent towards his school, stating it's "for the birds" (p4). However, once again he contradicts himself by remarking that it has a "very good academic rating" (p8) and "it's as good as most schools" (p55). Further confirmation that Holden is a phony. Once in his room at the Edmont Hotel, Holden is quick to become a voyeur to the erotic and carnal activities of others in the hotel. Although he supposedly detests what he sees he does observe a male transvestite for quite a while. Holden says, "the hotel," which he personally chose, "was lousy with perverts" (p62).