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The book Catcher in the Rye tells of Holden Caulfield’s insight about life and the world around him. Holden shares many of his opinions about people and leads the reader on a 5 day visit into his mind. Holden, throughout the book, made other people feel inferior to his own. I can relate to this because although I do not view people inferior to myself, I do judge others unequally.
Holden and I both have similar judgements of people from the way they act and behave. We also share feelings about motivation as well as lack of it. After reading this book, I came to the conclusion that Holden and I are much more similar than I initially believed. Holden portrayed others to be inferior to his own kind all throughout the book. He made several references as to how people aren’t as perfect as he was.
“The reason he [Stradlater] fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself.” (pg. 27) Holden had an inferiority complex. He was afraid of not having any special talents or abilities and used other methods to make him out to be a rough tough boy. “Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o’clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight.” (pg. 150) Holden tried all he could to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make it seem he was very knowing of these habits.
I myself have found me doing this at times, also. I, at times, feel the need to fit in to a group and do things similar to what others do in order to gain acceptance by them. I smoked a cigar once with two friends of mine because they kept going on and on about how great cigars were, but that was only once. Holden and I both place people on levels other than our own for amount of knowledge and likeness to ourselves. Holden used the term ‘phonies’ to describe more than a few people in this book. He used the term to be what a person is if they don’t act naturally and follow other people’s manners and grace. Holden didn’t like phonies, he thought of them as if they were trying to show off. He didn’t like it when they showed off because it seemed so fake and unnatural every time they would do so. “At the end of the first act we went out with all the other jerks for a cigarette. What a deal that was. You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear how sharp they were.” (pg. 126) I know many people like this as well. I do not like phonies either. I have many friends who talk using full vocabulary just to try to impress you, and others who make note of everything they see to show you how perceptible they are. People do this when they have a fear of their own individuality and feel that they need to ace different to get people to like them. Holden and I both dislike phonies. We do not like people who take on roles of others to seem more likeable because they are insecure. Throughout the book Holden displays a lack of motivation for many things in which he should do. Holden couldn’t even call up an old girlfriend whom he knew a long time ago. “But when I got inside this phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood any more to give old Jane a buzz.” (Pg. 150) Holden also had a problem getting his motivation together in order to complete schoolwork and succeed in his prep school. I have similar problems with my motivation and find at times I must be in the mood to do something in order for me to accomplish it. This stems from our experience in the past being that we can get through life, or the part we’ve been through already, with minimal effort. Holden has had this opportunity to notice this as his parents have been shuffling him around to different schools every time he flunks. He feels his parents will be there to move him somewhere else and take care of him every time something goes wrong. I found out in eighth grade that the schoolwork I had was far less than the schoolwork I did and I began to slack off, this caused me to believe that I could get away with minimal true effort in my schoolwork and it has also followed me into other courses of my daily routine. I find my forgetting to do things and having my parents doing them for me. I find I am basically pampered to my every will and need at home. This is a bad habit though and I am trying to get out of this lifestyle because I realize I won’t always have someone to fall back on. Holden and I both have similar motivational problems stemming from our childhood. Holden Caulfield and I are very similar in many ways. We tend to judge different people similar ways. We both dislike people who act phony because of insecurity. We also both lack motivation because of previous childhood experiences which have shaped our lives. Holden Caulfield and I have began our great journey through life with similar ideas to each other.
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