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Phony: As seen by Holden Caufield
In Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caufield uses diction, namely the word “phony”, to describe many groups of people such as adults, people with wealth, and even people his own age that have certain genuinely fake personalities, such as Stradtlater. First, Holden declares people to be phonies inevitably when they reach adulthood. Holden narrates his views on adulthood as being phony by the way adults act in regards to their successors. For example, Holden shows contempt for Ossenburger, a wealthy alumnus from Pencey. He declares him phony due to his speech that told the current students of Pencey to pray. Holden laughs at the thought, “He said that he talked to him all the time. Even when he was driving his car. That killed me. I can just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs. (p. 17)” Even though Holden’s claims are somewhat general, they aren’t entirely incorrect conclusions. The wealth of Ossenburger allows Holden to have a reason to classify him as phony. Throughout the novel, you get the sense of irony coming from Holden’s narration due to the broad base of people he defines as phony, when it’s possible to proclaim him as, too, a phony. Next, people with wealth are considered phony to Holden because of the way they act in public. The blasé attitude that Holden sees throughout the novel just reinforces his “diagnosis”. During the intermission of the play that Holden...