Phoniness and Holden’s Critisism of Society in The Catcher in The Rye

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 745 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 745|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Imagine living in a world where in your perspective everyone around you is a phony.

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In the book, Catcher in the Rye, the author uses Holden’s catchphrase “phoniness” to describe the superficiality, hypocrisy, pretension and shallowness of the world that Holden lives in. This phoniness is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the adult world and most of the adults that live in this world don’t know they’re being phony. Holden draws an imaginary line for people to cross and if someone exhibits the personality traits that crosses that line like being deceitful, hiding hatred or putting on a false face in public, they are labeled by Holden as not authentic. There are a few characters that are considered the exception to his views for society, which allows us to see the author’s contrast between genuine and phony, but since most characters that Holden encounters in the book fall into the general category, the author uses Holden’s pessimistic comments to criticize society. Holden’scrirctizes society in a way that. Holden’s crictism of society in a way that enables us to be able to talk to him.

Through the eyes of Holden the author talks about what’s wrong with the adult world in that people are only about serving themselves and Holden refers to it as a life that he doesn’t want to have. In Chapter 17 in the book, he actually asks Sally to run away with him to a life in a house in the woods, a fantasy life far removed from the city. He then goes onto to rant about why he hates the city. The noise, the doormen, the tailors and the people that care so much about their cars and trading them for newer cars. When the author puts his opinion on Holden,that the city represents society. This is typical of the authors view of society as greedy and self centred. Holden says, “But it isn’t is that it’s everything. I hate living in New York and all. Taxi cabs, and Madison Avenue buses, with the drivers and all always yelling at you to get out the rear door, and being introduced to phone you guys that called the Lunts angels and going up and down the elevator when you just want to go outside and guys fitting pants all the time at Brooks and people always -” Usually when he is criticizing something about society he use the word phony. In this passage, he is critical of society.He’s critcal of this life because he feels that society doesn’t have gueine qualites.

For most of the book, Holden encounters people in the book and at some point in their interaction he labels them as not authentic. He considers society as a collection of people like this. For example, in Chapter 10, Holden goes into a bar starts a conversation with a blonde women he finds attractive, although he’s interested and tries to make conversation, she wasn’t listening to him.She was looking for the hot shots . She and her friends kept looking around the room to see if celebrities would come into the bar. So he tells one of the women that Gary Cooper the movie star was on the other side of the dance floor and she stopped dancing right there to start looking for him. The whole time they hardly talked to each other looking for movie stars. Holden finds that these ladies are the same as the rest of society and when he confirms his view of society he says the phrase “ that killed me”. Holdens says in the book that movie stars are phony and so are these women because that’s all they care about. They are concerned with that aren’t geunie in Holden’s perspective is different. Holden’shaving shown and seeing qualities that are guinene, he labels people without qualites not authetic.

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In conclusion, Holden views social interactions with characters in the book like Sally and the women at the bar as phoniness that deserves criticism. In fact he views almost everything in the world and almost everyone as fake because they are are not genuine. Being genuine means being pure and showing that you care is something to be admired while being phony means you’re viewed that everything that isn’t okay is acceptable.For an instnace , treating the hot shot better than the average looking person. Salingers respents in catcher in the rye through holden characters the corruption of society and how is his opinion it needs to change.

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Phoniness And Holden’s Critisism Of Society In The Catcher In The Rye. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Phoniness And Holden’s Critisism Of Society In The Catcher In The Rye.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Phoniness And Holden’s Critisism Of Society In The Catcher In The Rye. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Phoniness And Holden’s Critisism Of Society In The Catcher In The Rye [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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