The Catcher in the Rye Essay

Submitted By Believe98
Words: 1073
Pages: 5

The Majority are phonies

Although published more than half a century ago, J.D. Salinger’s most famous work, The Catcher in the Rye, is enjoyed by as much readers as it did when it was first published. As Holden Caulfield shares his story, he recounts the events since leaving the Pencey School to facing his parents back home. At first, Holden sounds like a misguided, but normal teenager living in the 1950s. He was rebellious towards his parents, angry with his teachers, and flunking out of school for no apparent reason other than not trying at all. Holden tries to stop himself from maturing into an adult. However, as his story progresses, it becomes clear just how mature Holden’s crazy mind was. The way he viewed the world, thinking that it’s full of phonies, impacted tremendously on his actions. This novel is in comparison to a totally opposite song True Colors by Phil Collins. Even though the book is a lot more of a non-stopping thriller of action, and the song is of a peaceful and soothing melody, they share the same message. A negative outlook makes the whole world seem gray, leading the mind to distrust others and therefore becoming phonies ourselves. And to be rid of this mind, you must show your true colors. Holden was not the ideal “good” kid. First off, he was a heck of a liar. He was pretending that he was old enough to buy liquor in a bar (69). He keeps on using aliases, for example, “My name is Jim Steele” (94), that’s how he introduced himself to the prostitute Sunny. He wanted to pretend to be someone he’s not, or rather, the personality that he doesn’t have. In another case, when Mrs. Morrow, Holden’s classmate’s mom asked him what his name was on the train, he replied “Rudolf Schmidt”, the name of the janitor in his dorm (54-55). In fact, Holden even admits it himself, “I’m the most terrific liar you ever say in your life.” (16) One of the reason Holden is acting like this is because he needs hiding places. By lying, he masks his real self, and pretends to be the toughest guy alive. But what he doesn’t understand yet, is that “I see your true colors shining through…so don’t be afraid to let them show…true colors are beautiful.” A date can say a lot about someone. In this case, Holden’s date with Sally gave us a lot more hints as to what kind of person he really is. They weren’t quite dating; however, they were quite attracted to each other. When they ran into George after the show, Sally and George stroke up a conversation. But because Holden was not a part of it, he said “it was the phoniest conversation you ever heard in your life.” (127) He only did that to make himself feel better, another hiding place for him. This is the first time in the book that we’re not inside Holden’s head, reading his thoughts; he’s actually making conversation with someone. And it gave us a new perspective to him, what others think of him. When they were taking a break from skating, and all of a sudden Holden started talking with excitement, his stream of consciousness just keeps going, whether he’s thinking or talking aloud. “Don’t shout, please,” that’s what Sally said, which made us realize that all the time he was criticizing others, his manner aren’t that great either. Holden doesn’t realize this however, “which was funny, because I wasn’t even shouting.” (130) He also likes to cut people off, such as when Sally was saying “You just from one ----” (131), and “One minute you scream at me, and the next you ----” (133). that gives us the impression of “I’m boss, I’m everything, I’m at the top of the world.” But he is not, once again, he doesn’t want to admit who he really is, he keeps on hiding. Holden is also a heavy user of substances. If he’s not drinking, then he’s smoking, there’s barely a time that he’s doing neither in the book. For instance, he offered Mrs. Morrow a cigarette on the train