What does Holden think about the word ''grand''? What does this tell you about him?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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'Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's phony. I could puke every time I hear it.'

This is a quote from the novel 'Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger which shows Holden Caulfield's opinion on the use (and the users) of the word 'grand.' So, he makes it obvious he is less than keen on it - finds it abhorrent in fact. So we must ask ourselves why his reaction to the word is so violent. Firstly, it represents 'fake' in Holden's experience - and therefore in his mind. Whatever experience he has had of people using this word has been negative up until this point. The people who used it may have been pompous and self-congratulatory (undeservedly so in Holden's eyes.) They may have been using the word to describe either their own wealth and status and education - or someone elses. They may have been bragging about an 'impressive' life that Holden knew to be different. This is a common experience for teens as they grow up - they may find out their Dad is not the hero they thought he was, or that Mom has 'a Past' and that other adults have flaws and are not perfect. Holden doesn't mind that - what he minds is them pretending they are! Being phony or grand.

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