Meeting Face to Face with Reality
In the Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Holden has a major conflict with his psychological mind. He wants to interact with people yet another part of him wants to reject the adult world for its phoniness. He doesn’t realize the part of him that yearns for connecting until he has arrived in New York and has begun interacting with all sorts of people. The people he meets in New York bewilder him and his beliefs since he has been so sure of how he saw society that he has a moment of reflection on himself. In the Catcher in the Rye, New York City is a harsh place that forces Holden—in spite of his false bravado—to come to terms with his own powerlessness.
His powerlessness started to show when he met Maurice and Sunny. Holden despises the idea of prostitutes and looks down upon them yet he decides to pay for one as well. Sunny is a concrete example of something Holden both wants but hates at the same time. This contradicting behavior reveals to us that Holden has a continuous conflict throughout the book. He wants to live in a beautiful and innocent world yet he craves for sexual tension which causes him to encounter people like Maurice and Sunny. He is forced to deal with the consequences of his actions later on. He leaves the situation more hurt emotionally to see that his encounters in New York City are so different from the idealized fantasies in his head.
Holden once again is deemed indecisive when he goes on a date with Sally. He wants to have a relationship with her but at the same time he declares her to be a phony. Once again the contradicting behavior shows itself in this situation. There exists a contrast between the way he physically describes one topic and the...