Discusses the Importance of Truth in "The Catcher in the Rye"

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From the very beginning of the novel, Holden decides what you want to hear, and what he's going to tell you. He refuses to talk about his parents' past because 'that stuff bores me', and his parents 'would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.'(page 1) Throughout the novel, he avoids telling the truth about anything too "personal" or "boring." This suggests he thinks nothing of being economical with the truth for his own convenience. He certainly seems eager to decide for himself how much he's going to tell you. 'I'm not going to tell you my whole goddamn autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me.'(page 1) He also informs us that he hasn't …show more content…
Another truth that Holden's casual attitude might distract us from, is whom he's really talking to. There are a few vague references to his location in the opening pages. 'Just before I got pretty run down, and had to come out here and take it easy.' 'That isn't too far from this crummy place, and he comes over and visits me practically every weekend.' But these references don't indicate who he's talking to exactly. We already assume that he's told his brother something similar to the story he's about to tell, and it's a fair assumption that he was in the same location at the time, since his brother often visits. It doesn't seem important to know the truth about whom Holden's really talking to. The book's casual tone helps the reader relate to Holden, and since they don't know who he's talking to, the casual reader may assume that Holden's talking to them. This is responsible in part for the book's status as a 'cult classic'.

Since most of the novel takes place in the recent and distant past, the truth about Holden's current location seems unimportant. It is more important, in certain instances, during the text to imagine the location or scene that Holden is describing. It's more useful to picture the museum, for example, to relate to the way Holden feels about it, especially when he finally enters. It's important to picture this scene to understand why it upsets Holden so much. Picturing the
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