Catcher in the Rye: Holden's Insight About Life and The World Around Him
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 initially believed.
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 to ourselves.
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
tocomplete 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 time something goes wrong. I found out in eighth grade that the
schoolwork I had was far less than the schoolwork I did and I began to slack off,
this caused me to believe that I could get away with minimal true effort in my
schoolwork and it has also followed me into other courses of my daily routine.
I find my forgetting to do things and having my parents doing them for me. I
find I am basically pampered to my every will and need at home. This is a bad
habit though and I am trying to get out of this lifestyle because I realize I
won't always have someone to fall back on. Holden and I both have similar
motivational problems stemming from our childhood.
Holden Caulfield and I are very similar in many ways. We tend to judge
different people similar ways. We both dislike people who act phony because of
insecurity. We also both lack motivation because of previous childhood
experiences which have shaped our lives. Holden Caulfield and I have began our
great journey through life with similar ideas to each other.