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Can we say Holden in The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger was in search for an...

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mertberkay | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:02 AM via web

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Can we say Holden in The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger was in search for an entrance to the "phony world" or was his admiration of intellectual people genuine?


 Holden always concerned about phony people and their "phony acts", phoniness occupied his mind a lot.

 At chapter 20 Holden "All of them swimming around in a goddom pot of tea and saying sophisticated stuff to each other and being charming and phony."

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:47 AM (Answer #1)

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The character of Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is a very confused and angry young man trying not only to discover authenticity in the outside world but also to gain self-knowledge and identity. Being teenage male without a great degree of self-discipline, he wants both of them immediately, and is not very good at being patient and working on long term goals. Part of his condemning everyone else as "phony", is, I think, motivated by jealousy ("sour grapes"), and a desire to be part of the "cool kid" clique. Part is a spark of genuine desire for authentic intellectual and creative life. It's not really an either/or question, but rather a both/and issue. What makes the novel so good is that, I think, many of us as we read are rooting for the authentic part of Holden to win out over the confused and angry part.

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