From the novel, The Catcher in the Rye, the youthful protagonist Holden Caufield, employs the word "phony" to describe the behavior of a number of characters including Mr. Spencer and Ossenburger, however it is not them who are"phony", it is the young main character. First, Mr. Spencer, Holden's ex- history teacher, is not described as phony, but according to the adolescent, his choice of words are. Secondly, according to our main character, Ossenburger is not the generous philanthropist he portrays himself to be, but rather a greedy undertaker. Lastly, the protagonist could quite possibly be the authentic phony. All in all, the main character's use to describe many other characters in the book is with the single word phony, when in fact the word phony would be the most probable word to describe the lead character.
Illustrating Mr. Spencer as phony because of his vocabulary, is when Holden leaves Pencey Prep permanently, and goes to say good-bye to the ex-history teacher. The depicted fake tells the ex-Pencey student "I had the privilege of meeting your mother and dad when they had their little chat with Dr. Thurmer some weeks ago. They're grand people". The ex-Pencey student immediately impugns Mr. Spencer's use of the word "grand", and tells the reader: "Grand. There's a word I hate. It's a phony. I could puke every time I heard it." To sum up, Holden disgusts Mr. Spencer's utilization of the word "grand" and thinks it is fraudulent.
Also, Caufield, describes Ossenbuger as phony because of what Holden perceived he did for a living. The wing where the central character lived at Pencey was called the "Ossenbuger Memorial Wing" named after a men who went to Pencey and later donated a substantial amount of money to the school. Ossenburger makes this income by the "business of undertaking". Next, according to our youthful character, Ossenburger is phony because "he probably just shoves the dead bodies in a bag and throws them in the river". As a...
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