The protagonist of the story, Holden, figures out that life isn’t easy. He is worried that people won’t accept him and listen to him. As you might think that this is a normal stage for teenagers go through, you are correct. Holden’s experience going through high school is different then most teenagers. What I mean is that most teenagers just go along through the school day and try their best. Holden does try but he really doesn’t care because he thinks that everyone is a “phony”. Holden is enthusiastic about meeting people when he deems everyone to be phony? In his mind, everyone is a social-climber, appearance-fixated, a secret slob, a private “flit”, or a suck-up. Holden finds any impression of normal adult life to be "phony." He doesn't want to grow up and get a job, and he certainly doesn't want anything to do with the "bastards" that do. Basically, if Holden calls everyone a phony, he can feel better when they reject him. It's not his fault the three girls in the Lavender Room weren't terribly interested in giving him the time of day; they were just “phonies” who couldn't carry on a conversation. "He's so good he's almost corny, in fact. I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it. I certainly like to hear him play, but sometimes you feel like turning his goddam piano over. I think it's because sometimes when he plays, he sounds like the kind of guy that won't talk to you unless you're a big shot." (pg. 80) Although Holden doesn't directly call Ernie, the piano player, a phony, he senses phoniness and insincerity in his flashy piano-playing style. Holden thinks Ernie is too fine a piano player but no longer plays his music with heart. He can't feel bad if Ackley doesn't want to let him stay and chat. If Stradlater doesn't want to hang out, it's because he is a jerk from Holden’s perspective by taking Jane Gallager out and using Ed Banky’s car.
In the beginning of the novel, Holden goes to New York and purchases a red hunting hat. This symbolizes his loneliness because he wears this hat everywhere he goes. Holden likes it for the style but as the reader we know it is for his security. It is worth noting that the hat’s color, red, is the same as that of Allie’s and Phoebe’s hair. Perhaps Holden associates it with the innocence and purity he believes his siblings had. He never clearly comments on the hat’s significance other than to mention its unusual appearance. Holden says, "I pulled the peak of my hunting hat around to the front all of a sudden, for a change. I was getting sort of nervous, all of a sudden. I'm quite a nervous guy". It is also a symbol of his uniqueness and individuality. Likewise it is Holden’s need for isolation against his need for companionship.
In the movie Rocket Science the setting is very important to John Ciardi’s quote. Hal Hefner is a fifteen-year-old student of Plainsboro, New Jersey.