Essay on The Theme of Hypocrisy in The Catcher In The Rye

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The Theme of Hypocrisy in The Catcher In The Rye



In the novel The Catcher In The Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield views his surroundings with hypocrisy and contempt in an attempt to avoid the corruption of adulthood. Holden places himself above the crowd because he believes everyone acts phony. In the process, Caulfield reveals his true problem: his refusal to change.


Holden fears adulthood because it brings responsibilities and trouble. He believes all adults possess an aurora of "phoniness." His disgust of everyone around him reveals his fear of growing up. Holden exhibits insecurity, so to make himself feel better, he exercises the power to condemn people for the way they behave. Holden
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The trouble is, you wouldn't" (Salinger 172). Because the aging process is inevitable, Holden abhors the idea of growing up and becoming a phony himself.


Change is inevitable and is a constant phase that Holden cannot conceptualize. Holden's fear of change can be exemplified by the Museum of Natural History. Like the museum, he wants everything to be unchanging and as simple as possible. He talks about the immutable statues by saying, "Certain things they should stay the way they are... I know it's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (Salinger 122). By admitting his fear of change, Holden also reveals another important aspect of his life: his loss of childhood innocence. The only thing he can talk about without contempt is kids. Allie, his deceased brother, is continuously mentioned in the book, as well as the many interactions Holden has with Phoebe. Although he is continuously deriding others around him, he humbly admits to his sister that the only thing he could envision doing is saving kids, "What I have to do - I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff [...] I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd like to be" (Salinger 173). Holden's love for kids is the only
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