e and WorldThe Catcher in the Rye: Holden’s Insight About Life and World
The book Catcher in the Rye tells of Holden Caulfield’s insight about life and
the world around him. Holden shares many of his opinions about people and leads
the reader on a 5 day visit into his mind. Holden, throughout the book, made
other people feel inferior to his own. I can relate to this because although I
do not view people inferior to myself, I do judge others unequally. Holden and I
both have similar judgements of people from the way they act and behave. We also
share feelings about motivation as well as lack of it. After reading this book,
I came to the conclusion that Holden and I are much more similar than I
Holden portrayed others to be inferior to his own kind all throughout the book.
He made several references as to how people aren’t as perfect as he was. “The
reason he Stradlater fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in
love with himself.” (pg. 27) Holden had an inferiority complex. He was afraid of
not having any special talents or abilities and used other methods to make him
out to be a rough tough boy. “Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one
o’clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight.” (pg.
150) Holden tried all he could to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life
in general to make it seem he was very knowing of these habits. I myself have
found me doing this at times, also. I, at times, feel the need to fit in to a
group and do things similar to what others do in order to gain acceptance by
them. I smoked a cigar once with two friends of mine because they kept going on
and on about how great cigars were, but that was only once. Holden and I both
place people on levels other than our own for amount of knowledge and likeness
Holden used the term ‘phonies’ to describe more than a few people in this book.
He used the term to be what a person is if they don’t act naturally and follow
other people’s manners and grace. Holden didn’t like phonies, he thought of them
as if they were trying to show off. He didn’t like it when they showed off
because it seemed so fake and unnatural every time they would do so.
“At the end of the first act we went out with all
the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that
was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life,
everybody smoking their ears off and talking about
the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they
were.” (pg. 126)
I know many people like this as well. I do not like phonies either. I have many
friends who talk using full vocabulary just to try to impress you, and others
who make note of everything they see to show you how perceptible they are.
People do this when they have a fear of their own individuality and feel that
they need to ace different to get people to like them. Holden and I both dislike
phonies. We do not like people who take on roles of others to seem more likeable
because they are insecure.
Throughout the book Holden displays a lack of motivation for many things in
which he should do. Holden couldn’t even call up an old girlfriend whom he knew
a long time ago.
“But when I got inside this phone booth, I
wasn’t much in the mood any more to give old
Jane a buzz.” (Pg. 150)
Holden also had a problem getting his motivation together in order to complete
schoolwork and succeed in his prep school. I have similar problems with my
motivation and find at times I must be in the mood to do something in order for
me to accomplish it. This stems from our experience in the past being that we
can get through life, or the part we’ve been through already, with minimal
effort. Holden has had this opportunity to notice this as his parents have been
shuffling him around to different schools every time he flunks. He feels his
parents will be there to move him somewhere else and take care of him every