Cather In The Rye And Pony Family

The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, interacts with many people throughout J.D.

Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, but probably none have as much impact
on him as certain members of his immediate family. The ways Holden acts around
or reacts to the various members of his family give the reader a direct view of

Holden’s philosophy surrounding each member. How do Holden’s different
opinions of his family compare and do his views constitute enough merit to be
deemed truth? Holden makes reference to the word "phony" forty-four
separate times throughout the novel (Corbett 68-73). Each time he seems to be
referring to the subject of this metaphor as -- someone who discriminates
against others, is a hypocrite about something, or has manifestations of
conformity (Corbett 71). Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, Holden describes and
interacts with various members of his family. The way he talks about or to each
gives you some idea of whether he thinks they are "phony" or normal. A
few of his accounts make it more obvious than others to discover how he
classifies each family member. From the very first page of the novel, Holden
begins to refer to his parents as distant and generalizes both his father and
mother frequently throughout his chronicle. One example is: "...my parents
would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything personal about them.

They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They’re
nice and all – I’m not saying that – but they’re also touchy as
hell" (Salinger 1). Holden’s father is a lawyer and therefore he
considers him "phony" because he views his father’s occupation
unswervingly as a parallel of his father’s personality. For example, when

Holden is talking to Phoebe about what he wants to be when he grows up, he
cannot answer her question and proceeds to give her his opinion about their
father’s occupation.. ‘Lawyers are all right, I guess – but it doesn’t
appeal to me,’ I said. ‘I mean they’re all right if they go around saving
innocent guys’ lives all the time, and like that, but you don’t do that kind
of stuff if you’re a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf
and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. How
would you know you weren’t being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn’t’ (Salinger

172). When Holden describes his mom, he always seems to do so with a sense of
compassion yet also with a jeering tone. Holden makes his mom sound predictable
and insincere. These phony qualities are shown in two different examples when

Holden is hiding in the closet of D.B.’s room as his mom walks in to tuck in

Phoebe: ‘Hello!’ I heard old Phoebe say. ‘I couldn’t sleep. Did you have
a good time?’ ‘Marvelous,’ my mother said, but you could tell she didn’t
mean it. She doesn’t enjoy herself much when she goes out. ...’Good night.

Go to sleep now. I have a splitting headache,’ my mother said. She gets
headaches quite frequently. She really does (Salinger 177-178). The first two
examples are excellent illustrations of how Holden classifies people as phonies.

However, when it comes to Holden’s older brother, D.B., more analysis is
needed to derive Holden’s true feelings about his brother. Holden seems to
respect his older brother somewhat but cannot tolerate the imposed false image
brought on by D.B.’s career choice as a screen-play writer. For example, this
sense of respect is shown when D.B. takes Holden and Phoebe to see Hamlet:
"He treated us to lunch first, and then he took us. He’d already seen it,
and the way he talked about it at lunch, I was anxious as hell to see it,
too" (Salinger 117). Holden feels that all movies and shows are false,
absurdly exaggerated portrayals of reality and subsequently because his brother
takes part in these perversions of realism, he is a "phony." He’s in

Hollywood. That’s isn’t too far from this crumby place, and he comes over
and visits me practically every week end...He’s got a lot of dough, now. He
didn’t use to. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home (Salinger

1). Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there’s one
thing I hate, it’s the movies. Don’t even mention them to me (Salinger 2).

The way that Holden interacts with his sister, Phoebe, and the way Allie’s
death still affects Holden are two direct examples of the effects sibling
relationships create. The relationships