The Theme of Hypocrisy in The Catcher In The Rye
In the novel The Catcher In The Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield views his surroundings with hypocrisy and contempt in an attempt to avoid the corruption of adulthood. Holden places himself above the crowd because he believes everyone acts phony. In the process, Caulfield reveals his true problem: his refusal to change.
Holden fears adulthood because it brings responsibilities and trouble. He believes all adults possess an aurora of "phoniness." His disgust of everyone around him reveals his fear of growing up. Holden exhibits insecurity, so to make himself feel better, he exercises the power to condemn people for the way they behave. Holden believes hypocrisy is evident in every adult he sees. Holden's biggest fear is not becoming an adult, but the idea of becoming a phony. While talking to his sister, Phoebe, Holden states, "All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot [...] How would you know you weren't being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn't" (Salinger 172). Because the aging process is inevitable, Holden abhors the idea of growing up and becoming a phony himself.
Change is inevitable and is a constant phase that Holden cannot conceptualize. Holden's fear of change can be exemplified by the Museum of Natural History. Like the museum, he wants everything to be...