"The Catcher in the Rye" is what Holden essentially wants to be. The idea of being a phony hurt Holden. When all the children are playing and accidentally fall off the cliff, Holden wanted to be the one to catch them. He wants to save them from the adult world and hypocrisy. In Holden's mind the two greatest victims of this fall are Allie and James Castle who suffered the ultimate loss. No one was there to catch Allie; he died for no apparent reason. He died from leukemia. It's nobody's fault but why did it have to happen? James Castle died over a stupid little thing; he made a comment that he could not take back, an unforgivable offense. If no one was there to protect Allie or James Castle who will be there to protect Phoebe? Holden wants to protect the innocence in Phoebe and the innocence in all those on the cliff.
In the end he had to realize that he could not. In The Catcher in the Rye the idea of phoniness is a reoccurring motif that caused Holden great pain.
Holden hated phonies. He didn't like anything about them. The sad part is Holden was the biggest phony of them all. Holden wore a red hunting hat. He would wear the hat backwards and he would stick out because the hat was red. I think that Holden is a hunter. He is hunting down phonies. He hates them and wants to stop other people from becoming them. When he was in the bar he would take off his hat to look older. On page 57 he asked women for a drink. He was pretending to be someone he wasn't (someone older). The women asked him if he was old enough to order drinks.