Catcher in the Rye Critical Questions
Throughout the whole novel, The Catcher In The Rye, Holden discovers himself lying to avoid certain circumstances. He even freely confesses that he is an excellent liar. Holden lies for many reasons; sometimes, he feels depressed and lies for his own amusement to keep himself from thinking of his own dismal life. When Holden feels uncomfortable or ashamed, he lies in order to get himself out of those situations. He often lies about other individuals to keep them from knowing what Holden really thinks of them. Holden lies continuously, because in his own life, he can decline the reality.
The apparent signs that Holden is a troubled and undependable narrator are manifold: he stops working out of 4 schools; he manifests complete apathy toward his future; he is hospitalized, and gone to by a psychoanalyst, for an unspecified grievance; and he is not able to connect with other individuals. Through his lying and deceptiveness, Holden suggests that he is simply as phony as individuals he slams. The most obvious of Holden’s peculiarities is how exceptionally judgmental he is of nearly everything and everyone. He slams and philosophizes about individuals who are boring, people who are insecure, and, above all, people who are “counterfeit. Holden brings this fondness for passing judgment to such a severe that it frequently becomes extremely funny, such as when he hypothesizes that individuals are so crass that somebody will most likely compose “fuck you” on his tombstone. Holden uses the term “fake” not to people who are insincere however to those who are too traditional or too normal– for instance, instructors who “act like” teachers by assuming a various demeanor in class than they perform in discussion, or people who dress and act like the other members of their social class. PRICE QUOTE” While Holden uses the label “fake” to indicate that such individuals are superficial; his usage of the term really shows that his own understandings of other individuals are superficial. Holden believes that just others lie purposefully to give the allusion that they are someone else, when in truth, he is the one who’s exterior avoids legitimate human connection. In almost every case, he rejects more complicated judgments of others in favor of simple categorical ones. Holden doesn’t recognize it, however the web of lies he tells throughout his journey make him counterfeit too.
Holden boosts his earlier claim that he is an exceptional phony, as his conversation with Mrs. Morrow includes nothing however fallacies. The only statement that he makes to Mrs. Morrow which contains any truth is that he was a trainee at Pencey; otherwise, all of his statements are deliberately deceptive. He informs Mrs. Morrow precisely what she wishes to find out about her son, humoring her own sense of vanity and self-absorption by making her think that her boy, whom Holden loathes, is one of the most respectable and good trainees at Pencey. Her son was doubtless the biggest bastard that ever went to Pencey, in the entire crumby history of the school …’Well. He’s an extremely delicate young boy … Possibly he takes things a bit more seriously than he ought to at his age. ‘” These lies reveal the complete contempt that Holden holds for Mrs. Morrow and, by extension, all authority figures. He depends on order to mock Mrs. Morrow’s sense of delusion while enjoying the false view that she has of her kid. Holden declares a sense of superiority over Mrs.
Morrow, for he thinks that he can see clearly Ernest Morrow’s personality, while she has an incorrect, idealized picture of her kid. Whatever her misconceptions, however, Holden deals with Mrs. Morrow horribly. He sees her either as a target for ridicule or a sexual object, as he flirts with her and even offers to purchase her a beverage. “PRICE ESTIMATE” Holden takes a normal teenage trait, lying to flatter adults, and moves it to an intolerable extreme; his lies end up being more shameless and extravagant, revealing the troubling detach in between Holden’s psyche and reality.
Later on in his journey, Holden “provides the eye” to three females at another table, a blonde one in particular. He asks the blonde one to dance, and Holden judges her to be an excellent dancer, but a moron. Holden is offended when the lady, Bernice Krebs, asks his age, but informs the ladies who are checking out from Seattle that his name is Jim Steele, “Simply for the hell of it.” Possibly, by the time he is asked his name, he feels comfy enough in their stupidity to know that they will not think a thing. Sardonically, he tells the women “I’m twelve, for Crissake. I’m huge for my age. Since they keep mentioning how they saw Peter Lorre that day, Holden claims that he simply saw Gary Cooper, who just left the Lavender Room a few minutes ago. Holden thinks that the females are sad for wanting to go to the first show at Radio City Music Hall. Holden knows that he’ll never ever see these women once again in his life, so he continues to broaden his web of lies. Despite the truth that Holden has actually experienced more in the last couple of years than lots of people perform in their entire lives, Holden feels the desire to contrive fallacies to make himself more interesting and more mature.
Upon meeting Maurice in the elevator, Holden is used a prostitute for the night. He concurs, but right away is sorry for ever accepting Maurice’s offer. When asked his age, Holden broadens his internet of lies, telling Maurice that he is twenty two. Holden reflects about his past sex life, or lack thereof, and starts to feel even more anxious. He has time to think about what he expects to occur, and continues to get even more worried. “I was a little nervous. I was beginning to feel pretty sexy and all, but I was a little worried anyway. Holden has actually already unconsciously admitted to himself that he is too young and immature for a woman of the street because he needed to lie to Maurice about his age. Holden broadens his fabric of lies and phoniness to Sunny, due to the fact that he feels unfit to actually have sex with her. “I sort of simply wanted to get it over with.” He uses his terrific ability to lie to contrive a story about a recent surgical treatment Holden claims to have had just to get Bright to leave. This exposes Holden’s real weak point, as he is not able to be truthful with Sunny and tell her that he does not wish to have sex with her which he shouldn’t have told Maurice that he was interested.
Holden’s definition of phoniness relies mainly on a type of self-deception: he appears to schedule the most refuse for individuals who believe that they are something they are not or who decline to acknowledge their own weaknesses. But lying to others is likewise a kind of phoniness, a type of deception that suggests insensitivity, callousness, and even ruthlessness. Naturally, Holden himself is guilty of both these criminal activities. His random and repetitive lying highlights his own self-deception– he declines to acknowledge his own drawbacks and hesitates to consider how his habits affects those around him.
Through his lying and deceptiveness, Holden shows that he is simply as guilty of phoniness as the people he criticizes. Intro Introduce web of lies, phonieness, Mrs. Morrow Self-absorbtion Mocking, target of ridicule, sexual object Girls in the Lavender space Age, name lies Gary Cooper lie Make himself more intriguing Maurice and Sunny Anxiousness Jim Steele Conclusion p. 16 “I’m the most excellent phony you ever saw in your life. It’s horrible. If I’m on my method to the shop to buy a magazine, even, and someone asks me where I’m going, I’m accountable to state I’m going to the opera.
It’s dreadful.” Early in his recount of his journey, Holden understands what a great phony he is. This is substantial since having this super-ability to lie enables him to quickly alter his character as we see on the train and in the lavender space. He is also able to make Holden seem cooler, older, or more skilled. This brings up the question “Why does Holden choose to have another identity in specific situations and not others?” p. 54 Holden is on the train, leaving pencey, and satisfies Mrs. Morrow, Ernest’s mom. He informs her that he is Rudolf Schmidt.
He tells here all type of lies about Ernie simply for fun, because he knows that Ernie will never learn. p. 73 Holden satisfies the three girls in the Lavender Space, and after an evening of dancing, he informs them that his name is Jim Steele. “Just for the hell of it.” He also avoids responding to the ladies wen they ask him how old he is by saying “I’m twelve, for Crissake. I’m big for my age.” Possibly, by the time he is asked his name, he feels comfortable enough in their stupidity to know that they will not presume a thing, which it will never get back to him that he stated that.
P. 91 Holden satisfies Maurice in the elevator and is offered a prostitute. He agrees, but immeditly is sorry for ever accepting Marice’s offer. Holden tells Maurice that he is twenty 2, potentially due to the fact that he is afraid that maurice will withdraw his offer if he discovers how old Holden really is. He shows abut his past sex life, or absence thereof, and starts to feel much more nervous. He has time to think of what he expects to take place, and continues to get worried.” I was a little nervous. I was beginning to feel pretty attractive and all, but I was a little anxious ayway. “Anyway, I kept walking around the room, waiting for this woman of the street to appear. I kept hoping she ‘d be attractive. I didn’t care excessive, though. I sort of simply wished to get it over with.” P. 94 Holden starts to tell Sunny a web of lies, startign with his name. “Permit me to present myself. My name is Jim Steele.” Holden is feeling outside of his comfort zone, as the ‘genuine’ Hoden dissappears and Jim Steele apperas. Holden represents Jim Steele as a twenty-two year old simply had an operaton on his clavichord. “boy was I getting nervous.” His lies eventually lead Sunny out of th room and permit him to be alone.