Catcher in the Rye Recurring Theme : Lying

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Lying is a recurring motif in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger that directly correlates to the character Holden Caulfield .Lying is an escape for Holden that makes him feel better about himself, so that way he doesn’t have to deal with problems he are faced with, thus isolating himself . This can be seen in chapter 3 when he is leaving from a visit with his teacher, ‘Old Spencer’. He tells the reader, “I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible”(Page 9). At this point in the novel, Holden is on his way back to his dorm after telling his teacher a lie, which is that he is on his way to the gym. This is significant the novel because it shows how he is making up this lie is so that he can get away from the reality his teacher is trying to make him face. Later on, Holden decides that he wants to leave Pencey, and he runs into the mother of Ernest Morrow, a kid that goes to his school. He tells Ernest’s mother, “It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain” (Page 32). At this point in the novel, Holden is on a train going to a hotel in New York and is lying to Ernest’s mother by saying that he is going home because of an operation he has to have done. This also is significant to the motif because Holden is trying to make Ernest’s mother feel bad about his situation by lying, which makes Holden feel better about himself. After Holden lies, he goes on to tell the reader, "Then I started reading this timetable I had in my pocket. Just to stop lying. Once I get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it. No kidding. Hours” (Page 58). Holden just told a very serious lie to Earnest’s mother, and Justifies why Holden lie to Spencer to escape from people asking him questions and more questions, thus, wanting to get far from them without offending them. Lying...
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