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Catcher in the rye paper

"Catcher in the Rye"

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

partially relate because i do view people higher or lower depending on

their knowledge about a particular subject. I never judge all equally.

Holden and I both have similar judgements of people from the way they act

and behave. We also share feelings about motivation and the lack thereof.

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 all. I myself have found me doing this too at

times. 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


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'd 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 do 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 to

complete 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 whom act with

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.

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