holdenessay - Dr Wyman Eng 102 Holden Caufield A Child...

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Dr. Wyman Eng 102 4/3/06 Holden Caufield: A Child Amongst Men Stripping away the aspects of a tragic hero, Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is revealed as a true ‘phony’. He “passes harsh verdicts on people who do not measure up to his standards” (Seng), yet routinely throughout the story, Holden himself does not live up those standards. He “hates lies, phoniness, pretense, yet these are often his own sins” (Seng). Holden is guilty of the very thing he denounces society for. His criticisms of society are not unfounded, however. But rather than the conformists, Holden himself is what is wrong with society. He sees the imperfections, and rather than fight for change, he runs away from conflict. As the novel opens, Holden is being kicked out of his prep school. He complains of the “phoniness,” of it all. To him, phony comes to mean leaving innocence behind and becoming an adult. He goes to see a semi mentor of his, Professor Spencer. In a long winded spiel on how Holden is ruining his life, a quote penetrates the fog of Holden’s conscience. “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules” (Salinger). Rather than ignore everything Spencer has to say, Holden sees this line as an anthem for everything he hates. He is constantly on the losing side of life, so to him, it’s really not a game at all. Holden comes to loathe any notions that life is a game, because to him it certainly isn’t. The preparatory school setting itself; is symbolized as a vessel of adulthood. Boys come in, men come out. He is still stuck in the awkward phase of life during teenage
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years. And his views are influenced by that youth, “he is still an adolescent and so an immature judge of adult life. His viewpoint is limited…” (Seng). Despising his surroundings and not wanting to grow up, Holden does the only logical thing in his mind. He gets himself kicked out of school.
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holdenessay - Dr Wyman Eng 102 Holden Caufield A Child...

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