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

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


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 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