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A True Fake: A Look Into Holden's Contradictions

664 words - 3 pages

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is told in first person by the main character and narrator Holden Caulfield. Holden directly launches into his contradictory nature even on the first page. This does not stop throughout the whole of the book. Holden begins to contradict himself every time he has opinion of something that involves himself and another person. There are many accounts of this because contradicting himself seems to be a habit to Holden.
These repeated accounts of Holden's contradiction kick off where he says "I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything" (Salinger 1) and yet for the duration of the next few pages he continues to explain plenty of information about himself. Though it is slight, it still shows that Holden's contradictions are a major part of who he is. Another instance of this is when Holden makes a statement saying "I'm the ...view middle of the document...

Soon after that he describes himself as someone who is immature, but can also be mature for his age, it shows that even his own actions are contradictory. Later on in the book when Holden goes on his date with Sally, all he seems to do is complain about how much Sally irritates him, although he goes on a date with her and then suggests the insane idea of running away with her.
Pursuing the fight between Holden and Stradlater, Holden talks about how he enjoys seeing himself beat up when looking at his injuries in the mirror but at the same time declares that he is a pacifist. This also occurs when Holden recalls that his gloves were stolen and says "I wish I knew who'd swiped my gloves...Not that I'd have done much about it." (88) and calls himself a yellow type of guy. Once Holden arrives at the trashy hotel he begins to moan about how it is full of perverts while only moments later he becomes a voyeur himself.
Finally, there is the occurrence of sadder times when Holden is contradictory. Holden continues to lie numerous times and yet sometimes after he completes a lie, he comments on how he feels bad about doing it. Likewise, Holden claims that he wants to be left alone, isolated from the rest of the world, but is invariably worried about what others think of him. He always acts like he is above "phony" people who are dishonest about the real them. Although when confront by others like Ernest Morrow's mother or the prostitute, Sunny, from the hotel, he feels the need to lie about who he is and put on a facade just because he is confused and abhorrent about who he is so Holden pretends to be someone who he deems best. This contradicts his constant accusation of phonies, but is the biggest phony himself.
In conclusion, the character of Holden Caulfield is a walking contradiction. He is confused and immature with no way to act on his own feelings, this leads to him acting on impulse. Holden's impulse causes him to contradict on multiple occasions everything he says whether he knows it or not.

Work Cited
Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1945. Print.

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