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Aspects Holden Wants Changed Essay

1069 words - 5 pages

In Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the main protagonist, Holden, is in a state of disrepair. In the course of just a few days, a weekend, he is removed from school and on his way back home, to crying out emotionally and physically against his perception of society more potently than an assumed before. Starting from all the ‘phonies’ he encounters, to how he wants to see children stay innocent and unchanged as they mature; there are a couple large aspects of society that he likely wants to see changed. Whether or not he is justified in his belief is to be seen.
Throughout his trials and tribulations, Holden has encountered/spoken of many people he has labeled ‘phonies.’ These are generally people he thinks to be questionable in their morals and how they perceive the world in general. For example: His own brother, D.B., hit the big time and is now “… in Hollywood, being a prostitute.” (Page 2) By being a prostitute, Holden is calling his brother someone who sells themselves out for cash, with little thought or effort or maybe even honesty put into their work. In this way, D.B. is a bit phony in Holden’s eyes, not writing things like he used to, the old and good D.B. Another keen example of some phoniness is at his own (and now previous) high school, Pencey. His roommate, Stradlater, was phony by all means. Stradlater was a guy who “… was at least a pretty friendly guy, Stradlater. It was partly a phony kind of friendly…” (Page 26) He was kind of sweet on the outside, but obtuse and ungrateful in the inside; most of his actions were motivated by self-gain or empowerment. But some things Holden picked up on was his razor, it was really crumby and not really in great shape… but Stradlater was always such a ‘clean’ guy, always shaving twice, wearing nice clothes and such; this revealed he was a secret slob really. On another occasion he even got Holden to write a paper for him, which in turn he called it terrible and that Holden does everything “backasswards.” Finally, the scene in Ernie’s where Ernie the piano player is playing his piano to the crowd; Holden mentions how much of a phony he is just by the way he presents himself as a performer. He sits at his piano with a big spotlight on him in a way that you can only see his head while he plays, and none of his fingers… which is what really matters in a sense. “It was very phony – I mean him being such a big snob and all.” Ernie acts humble to the people, other than being a really good piano player, but he has a sense of nonhuman, or personable, and Holden can’t stand that he gave a big phony humble bow at the end of his performance, as if he was actually humble. To sum up these points coherently, Holden sees many people in a way that takes away from the experience of life by being outwardly false towards others. How they act and react in a non-genuine fashion. He is justified in these thoughts because these people...

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