The Catcher In The Rye By J.D Salinger - Ostracization and Hipocrisy

Essay by gangsterjooseHigh School, 10th gradeB+, July 2004

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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, there is a strong theme of ostracization and hypocrisy. Holden is portrayed as a teenager who is exiled form many social events that take place at his school. On the evening of the big football game, he was supposed to attend a fencing meet with the team. However, they were unable to go because he had forgotten the equipment in the subway. When he finally gets back to school, however, he doesn't go watch the game, instead he says, "...I was standing way the hell up on top of Thomas Hill...You could see the whole field from there...practically the whole school was there except me..." (pg. 2). Even though Holden would have still been able to go to the game, he didn't because he had no one to go with. Since Holden is treated as an outcast and has no friends, he is able to observe the people around him.

When he attended Elkton Hills, for example, he noticed that the headmaster, Mr. Haas, was a hypocrite because when he was introduced to the students' parents, he would only have long conversations with them if they were wealthy and good-looking. Holden describes this when he says, "He'd be charming as hell and all. Except if some boy had little old funny-looking parents..." (pg. 14). Therefore, Holden has a problem when trying to socialize with his peers, but also recognizes when someone has a false pretense.

Since Holden was never able to identify with people his own age, he was forced to find other ways of socializing. Holden explicates, "The other reason I wasn't down at the game was because I was on my way to say good-by to old Spencer, my history teacher" (pg. 13). Mr. Spencer was Holden's only...