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Holden is often hypocritical—he says one thing but does another.  Analyze three...

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swang1 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted October 17, 2009 at 8:31 AM via web

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Holden is often hypocritical—he says one thing but does another.  Analyze three examples of him being hypocritical in The Catcher in the Rye.

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sfwriter | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted June 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Holden says that he is the "most terrific liar he ever met" in the beginning of Chapter 3.   But he spends a great deal of time talking about how much he hates "phonies"!  This is a central contradiction in Holden's behavior throughout the book.  Holden hates it when anyone is insincere or less than truthful with him, but he tells lies throughout the book to almost everyone he meets. 

With Ackley, also in Chapters 3 and 4, Holden complains that his next-door neighbor spends all his time in Holden and Stradlater's room.  But later, in Chapter 7, Holden goes to Ackley's room and stays there -- going so far as to lay down in Ackley's roommate's bed for a time.  The disrespect of other people's boundaries that Holden criticizes Ackley so severely for he exhibits in the exact same way.

In regards to money, Holden does several hypocritical things.  But perhaps the sharpest is when, in Chapter 1, he criticizes his brother D.B. for going to Holllywood and "prostituting himself" by writing screenplays for the movies.  D.B. had once been a "regular writer", and now he has made a great deal of money writing for the movies.  Holden is critical of this, but Holden likes what money can give him.  He spends a great deal of money -- almost all of the money he had on him when he left Pencey, in the two days after he left school.  He likes to throw money around, but he criticizes his brother for earning it. This is certainly hypocritical.

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