What are some examples of contradictory quotes from Holden in "The Catcher in the Rye"?
Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator who contradicts himself numerous times throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye. In Chapter 6, Holden is upset with Stradlater for withholding information about his date with Jane Gallagher. Holden decides to walk into the bathroom where Stradlater is brushing his teeth and attempts to punch him in the face. Holden swings with all of his might but misses, and Stadlater throws him to the ground. Holden proceeds to ridicule Stradlater by calling him degrading names like "moron." Finally, Stadlater has had enough of Holden's attitude and punches him in the face. Following the fight, Holden says,
"I'd only been in about two fights in my life, and I lost both of them. I'm not too tough. I'm a pacifist, if you want to know the truth" (Salinger, 25).
Clearly, Holden is not a pacifist, given the fact that he's been in multiple fights and takes a swing at Stradlater when he isn't looking.
Other examples of Holden contradicting himself include his insistence that he hates the entertainment industry and the fact that he looks old for his age. Holden contradicts his chastisement of the entertainment industry by pretending that he is in a movie and going to a Broadway show with Sally. Holden also does not look as old as he says he does because he is denied purchasing alcohol a few times, and women at the Lavender Room joke with him about being so young.
When Holden meets Sally for their date, he thinks: "The funny part is, I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I'm crazy. I didn't even like her much...all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her."
He claims that movies are "awful," "putrid," and "can ruin you," yet he fantasizes getting revenge against Maurice by thinking about getting shot and then ambushing Maurice just like in movies he'd seen.
Holden says, "I don't think I could stand it if I had to go to war." But moments later he declares, "...I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there 's ever another war...I'll volunteer for it."