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People may not Phonies Phonies People may not be what they appear to seem like. For Holden Caulfield from the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, he calls these people phonies. Holden despise people who try to act like someone in which they are not. He encounters numerous amounts of phonies in his journey throughout New York City and even before he left the boarding school, Pencey Prep.
Many characters in the novel share this common theme of phoniness. Holden sees Mr. Spencer, his past history teacher to be a phony person. Mr. Spencer was one of Holden s favourite teachers in Pencey Prep. Before Holden leaves the school, he goes to his house for a goodbye visit.
Mr. Spencer teaches Holden life is a game that one plays according to the rules. (Salinger 8) By saying so, he wishes that Holden understands that if he does not play by the rules, he will not be able to succeed. But Holden tells Phoebe, his little sister, that Mr. Spencer is one of the phony teachers at Pencey Prep, Even the couple of nice teachers on the faculty, they were phonies, too, I [Holden] said. There was this one old guy, Mr. Spencer. (Salinger 168) Although Holden thinks that Mr.
Spencer is a nice teacher, he also believes that he is a phony. According to Holden, most people that belong to adulthood are phonies even his roommate. Although not yet an adult, Holden believes that Stradlater, his roommate in Pencey Prep is also a phony. Stradlater was getting prepared for his date while Holden watched him.
Although Stradlater appeared to be clean and looked good, he was a secret slob. The razor that he uses to appear to look good was in fact rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap (Salinger 27) as Holden describes it. This proves that Stradlater was not what he appears to be, and as Holden puts it, he is a phony. Although Holden criticizes everyone to be a phony, he, himself is also a phony as well. Probably not realizing this fact at first, but Holden is also considered by many to be a phony. A phony person is one that is not truthful and fake.
Holden describes himself as, the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. (Salinger 16) According to Holden, anyone who pretends to be something he or she is not is a phony. If that is true, then Holden is also a phony because he pretends to be something / someone whom he is not through lying. According to Holden Caulfield, the theme that the world has an outward appearance but really is not is known as phoniness. Salinger characterizes many different characters into the theme of phoniness to tell his readers that everyone in the world is a phony at some points in their life. Even the great critique Holden is classified by many as being a phony person.
The common element that all the characters in this theme consist of is that they are all human beings. As human beings, no one is perfect and will lie and become classified as a phony sooner or later. It is the amount of phoniness in the person that determines whether he or she has a bad or good personality. Salinger tries to convey the message that even if one is a phony, that does not necessarily mean that he or she is a bad person but that he or she is only human.
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