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What are some quotes and examples of when Holden Caulfield judged other people in The...

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angiegirl95 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 26, 2012 at 12:49 AM via web

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What are some quotes and examples of when Holden Caulfield judged other people in The Catcher in the Rye?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 3 of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield talks about the man his wing is named for, Ossenburger. Ossenburger gave a speech to the students and implored them to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. "He said he talked to Jesus all the time. Even when he was driving his car. That killed me. I just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs." Holden is critical of most adults for being "phonies" and he faults Ossenburger for making a fortune in the undertaking business, essentially profiting from the dead. 

Holden has a lot of friends at Pencey but in his asides, he criticizes them for all of their faults. But he never criticizes himself. When he leaves at the end of Chapter 7, we see this duplicity when he says "Sleep tight, ya morons!" He said this as a way to convince himself that he isn't sad for leaving and also to convince the others (if they even woke to hear it) that he didn't need them and could leave without any sad feelings. 

Holden also criticizes his brother D.B. for being a screen writer. However, Holden constantly makes references to movies, so they have made an impression on him. In Chapter 18, Holden criticizes (in thought) a woman for crying during a movie. He has some justification because the woman won't take her child to the bathroom, but his criticism is, once again, about phoniness in general, with adults in particular. "You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart. I'm not kidding."

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