When is Holden Caulfield "phony" in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye? What are some examples of Holden being a phony, and who does he think is a phony?

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As a neurotic, troubled adolescent, Holden Caulfield is extremely critical and considers anyone acting insincere or attempting to portray themselves in artificial light to be phony. For example, Holden believes his former headmaster Mr. Haas is a phony for shaking parents' hands and pretending to be happy to see them when they visit on Sundays. Holden also views some of his peers at Pencey Prep as phonies and labels anyone who is successful, popular, or charismatic to be a phony. Holden even considers people who use the term "grand" to be phonies.

Despite Holden's extremely critical nature, he continually acts insincere and can also be considered a phony. Holden acts like a phony on the train ride from Pencey Prep to New York City when he lies about his name and background to Mrs. Morrow. Holden also acts like phony during his interaction with Sunny the prostitute by lying to her face about a ridiculous medical condition, which prevents him from having sex. Holden is also an unreliable...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 833 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 30, 2019
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