In Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what is an example of Holden being hypocritical in chapters 12–13?

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Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another or condemning others for flaws you share with them. A hypocrite piously condemns kicking dogs and then goes home and kicks his dog.

Holden is angry, alienated, depressed, and not at his best during these two chapters. Overall, however, Holden has a...

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Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another or condemning others for flaws you share with them. A hypocrite piously condemns kicking dogs and then goes home and kicks his dog.

Holden is angry, alienated, depressed, and not at his best during these two chapters. Overall, however, Holden has a strain of honesty that keeps him from being a total hypocrite. Often when he behaves as a hypocrite, he is at least well aware of what he is doing.

However, he seems unconscious of how much he is like the people he sees in the nightclub Ernie's:

Mostly with prep school jerks and college jerks.

As Holden is himself a "prep school jerk," it is hypocritical of him to condemn the other Ernie's patrons for sharing his own perceived flaw.

Holden, as he well understands, is a hypocrite when he is polite and says he's glad to see or meet people he hates. At Ernie's, he runs into his friend Lillian with a Navy "guy" he loathes for being a macho man. Holden says:

The Navy guy and I told each other we were glad to've met each other. Which always kills me. I'm always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.

Of course, common courtesy is innately hypocritical, and, as Holden notes, must be for people to "stay alive," but he is hard on himself and tends to berate himself when he plays the social games he finds phony.

Holden is also a hypocrite—as he again notes—when he hires the prostitute at the suggestion of the elevator man in his hotel:

"Okay," I said. It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think.

Being against something and then doing it is the picture of hypocrisy. Holden knows he is being a hypocrite and tries, lamely, to excuse it by saying he was depressed.

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At the beginning of Chapter 13, Holden mentions that his hands are freezing and he wishes he knew the person who stole his gloves at Pencey. Holden then contemplates what would happen if he ran into the person who stole his gloves. Holden then says that he probably would have got an attitude with the person because he is not a good fighter. Holden laments at his inability to defend himself and says,

If you're supposed to sock somebody in the jaw, and you sort of feel like doing it, you should do it. I'm just no good at it, though. I'd rather push a guy out the window or chop his head off with an ax than sock him in the jaw (48).

Holden's graphic comments and description of how he would conduct himself if he were to run into the person who stole his gloves are examples of his hypocritical nature. Earlier in the novel, Holden calls himself a "pacifist." A pacifist would definitely not contemplate pushing people out of a window or chopping their head off when provoked. Holden also says that he would not take a swing at the person because he is not a good fighter. However, Holden did not hesitate to throw a punch at Stadlater in the bathroom earlier in the novel.

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A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another. They are people who hold everyone up to their standards but may not live up to them themselves. Holden, being a very judgmental teenager, accomplishes this task many times throughout the book. With regards to chapters 12-13, though, Holden's hypocrisy is subtly unleashed. 

First, Holden gets into a conversation with a cab driver about where the birds and fish go in the winter time. The cabby has some difficulty explaining his understanding of the topic and Holden tells him not to get sore. Holden is the last person to be telling someone else not to freak out because he does enough of it himself. Holden says,

"I stopped having a conversation with him, if he was going to get so damn touchy about it. But he started it up again himself" (82).

Here the cabby continues the conversation, which annoys Holden, but there are times when Holden also won't let a conversation die. For example, he doesn't let his conversation with Stradlater about Jane go before they get into a fist fight. Stradlater even asks Holden, "Why the hell don'tcha shut up when I tell you to?" (45).

Other examples of Holden being a hypocrite are found on page 83 when he calls everyone in Ernie's piano lounge "prep school jerks," even though he goes to preparatory schools himself. He also calls Ernie, the piano player, "a big snob," yet Holden wants to be there to listen to piano music and to drink with those people (83). If a person looks down on everyone, why would he want to go hang out or socialize with them. The main reason he goes to bars is because he is lonesome and can't stand to be with himself for long periods of time. 

Finally, in chapter 13, Holden discusses his experience with a prostitute. The whole scene with the girl has many issues in and of itself, but the hypocrisy comes in when he hires her because he actually calls his older brother a prostitute on page 2--right at the beginning of the book! His brother, D.B., moved to Hollywood to be a movie writer and Holden calls him a prostitute; yet, Holden turns around and hires one (91). It's just another example of Holden's hypocritical behavior and thinking.

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