Maturity Through Phonyism
Uploaded by ckrangle on Nov 16, 2003
What does phony mean to you? Do you consider it something that is not what it really seems? Or even something or someone that isn't normal in all ways or just in some? Phony is one of the words in the English literature that can have an endless amount of interpretations. Can be being phony possibly hinder an attempt to accomplish a task to fully function mentally? Can phony delay an individuals maturing period? In J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Holden's "phony phobia" restricts him from becoming a fully matured adult. In Holden's attempted journey in becoming a fully matured adult, he encounters many scenarios involving friendships, personal opinions, and his love of children. His journey is an unpleasant and difficult one with many lessons learned along the way.
Holden possesses abnormal relationships with some of the characters in Catcher in the Rye. Many of his friends and those he talks highly about are young children. He does not make any negative comments about these companions, and there is no mention whatsoever of phony. Holden has a strong relationship with Phoebee, his younger sister. Holden vocalizes about the fact Phoebee can visit him anytime in the summer, "What I'd do, I'd let old Phoebee came out and visit me in the summertime and on Christmas vacation and Easter vacation" (205). Holden shows a solid liking to his sister and is always wanting her by his side. He finds a hard time associating with older, mature individuals. Also, a strong relationship with Allie his deceased younger brother, is apparent due to the twenty references in the novel. In fact, most of Holden's fondest memories are of those times with his younger siblings. His comments of innocence help establish this connection. Someone who is trying to learn the stages of developing into a mature adult would not develop as soon, or as fully when spending their time solely with those who are five to seven years of age. They would not experience the guidance from older adults to correct wrong behaviour. The guidance of an elder isn't present and they need to learn by themselves.
Harrison Smith has defined Holden's friendships quite clearly "What was wrong with Holden was his moral revulsion against anything that was ugly, evil, cruel, or what he called ‘phony' and his acute responsiveness to beauty and innocence, especially the innocence of the very young." (Smith 1)....