The insensitivity/cruelty of the modern world.

Essay by jayanithaHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2005

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Can one person change the corrupted world? It seems impossible for one person to shoulder all the evil out there. In J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" the protagonist struggles to live in this world. It takes most the novel before Holden begins to realize that he is helpless to stop this corruption. Holden feels that he is just a teenager in the large world, and everyone else besides him is a phoney. Holden wants to avoid the cruelty of the world because he feels it would destroy him. Holden feels world creates phonies, alienates people, and he is incapable of living with its constructs and values.

One of the several reasons Holden feels that he cannot live in this world is the fake people around him. Around every corner Holden sees phonies. He looks out on a world which appears completely immoral. Holden uses the word phoney to identify everything in the world that he rejects or encounters.

Stradlater, Holden's outwardly attractive and secret slob roommate represents a class of successful people who live by false values and take advantage of others. Holden mentions, "Stradlater was more of a secret slob. He always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up, but he was a secret slob". That's why Holden doesn't like him. The only reason he stayed with him was they are roommates. Not only Stradlater, but in Holden's view, Sally is also a phoney and self-centred. Holden dislikes her and often refers to her as the "queen of phonies". He is been physical with Sally because he doesn't care about her. Besides that Holden sees phonies at the bar, where three ladies are obsessed with celebrities. His attempt to engage the three girls in conversation and dancing is another attempt on Holden's...