The Catcher in the Rye: Themes and Symbols

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The Catcher in the Rye: Themes and Symbols

By | October 1999
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The Catcher in the Rye: Themes and Symbols

The theme that the world has an outward appearance that seems fair and perfect but really they're as Holden put it "phonies." This is shown countless amount of times in his journey through New York and even before he left. The setting is in the 1950's; so I'm pretty sure that he didn't encounter any transvestites, lesbians, or anything that extreme of phoniest. Or on the other hand he could have liked them for being as Elmemson said a "none conformist." But I doubt it, he seemed to like kids more than anything. And his job, as he felt, was to protect them in their innocents; of which I will talk about in my second theme.

The first example that stands out in my mind is the scene with Stradlater in the "can." If you remember Stradlater was getting ready for his other date while Holden watched him. "Stradlater was a secret slob" in public he always looked good and got all the girls but in fact he was a slob. His razor that made him look so good was "rusty as hell and full on lather and hair and crap." This proves that he is a slob to "never clean it or anything." If you think about it that's even worst than Old Ackley. At least Ackley knew that he had a problem, that he need to do something about his face; but Stradlater thought that he was a great guy. He actually thought that there was nothing wrong with never washing his razor. I think that what mad, Holden so made Stradlater was perpetrating in other word being "phony" every time he went out all GQ after using that filthy razor. Another instance is when he calls that girl in New York, Faith Cavendish, that Eddie Birdsell had brought to a dance at Princeton. Anyway he called her and she almost went off until Holden drooped Eddie's name. Then all of a sudden "she was getting friendly as hell." The same person said "if you think I enjoy bein' woke up in the middle-" was "getting an english accent all of a sudden." I think Holden caught her with her faÿade down....

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