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The Insensitivity/Cruelty Of The Modern World.

1170 words - 5 pages

Can one person change the corrupted world? It seems impossible for one person to shoulder all the evil out there. In J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" the protagonist struggles to live in this world. It takes most the novel before Holden begins to realize that he is helpless to stop this corruption. Holden feels that he is just a teenager in the large world, and everyone else besides him is a phoney. Holden wants to avoid the cruelty of the world because he feels it would destroy him. Holden feels world creates phonies, alienates people, and he is incapable of living with its constructs and values.One of the several reasons Holden feels that he cannot live in this world is the fake people around him. Around every corner Holden sees phonies. He looks out on a world which appears completely immoral. Holden uses the word phoney to identify everything in the world that he rejects or encounters. Stradlater, Holden's outwardly attractive and secret slob roommate represents a class of successful people who live by false values and take advantage of others. Holden mentions, "Stradlater was more of a secret slob. He always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up, but he was a secret slob". That's why Holden doesn't like him. The only reason he stayed with him was they are roommates. Not only Stradlater, but in Holden's view, Sally is also a phoney and self-centred. Holden dislikes her and often refers to her as the "queen of phonies". He is been physical with Sally because he doesn't care about her. Besides that Holden sees phonies at the bar, where three ladies are obsessed with celebrities. His attempt to engage the three girls in conversation and dancing is another attempt on Holden's part to connect with humanity. Although they show no interest in Holden, they dance with him and expect him to pay their bill. In the end, however, they too desert Holden, leaving him once again terribly alone and depressed. At this point, Holden realizes how this world is corrupted and obsessed with fame and money. Realizing that he is surrounded by phonies, Holden decides to avoid the real world.Holden realizes his isolation and tries to make some form of human connection. Holden looks for some degree of understanding and acceptance from all the people he encounters. Unfortunately, all the people he reaches out to are unable to accept him. For instance Holden was ostracized by the team members on the train. It is important to notice that when Holden flashes back to the day he left Pencey Prep; he is pictured alone, standing on top of a hill. The reason he was standing way up on hill, instead of down at the game, was because the whole team ostracized him on the train. He left all the foils and equipment on the subway. Holden felt very isolated during the game even though Holden says that it was funny in a way. Even at the bar, Holden was alienated by three phony ladies. Holden finally realized that the three ladies weren't interested in him. "They...

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