Everything Is Phony

Everything is Phony

Almost everything has some degree of superficiality. Everyone is selfish and most behaviors are calculated. The path to adulthood involves understanding that the pristine, carefree life of childhood is gone. The feelings of loneliness and fright are normal in this journey, but not everybody know how to deal with the confusion as seen in the narrator of The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. Holden Caulfield is teetering on the bridge to adulthood, unwilling to take the few steps forward, but knows he cannot turn back. Being perceptive for his age, Holden witnesses the insincerity that pertains to being an adult. He struggles to comprehend why anyone would want live in such a world. He has reacted to the maelstrom of emotions by creating this a viewpoint of the world, which he labels phoniness. Phoniness is a superficial excuse Holden creates in order to not grow up.
He notices all the lies and deceptions which often come with sex in the modern world. Holden in standing in his hotel room staring out the window at a couple squirting water at each others faces in a separate hotel room when he starts reminiscing about sex. “I spent the whole night necking with a terrible phony named Anne Louise Sherman. Sex is something I just don’t understand. I swear to God I don’t” (63). Sex frightens Holden because it is what adults occupy themselves with, yet he does not want to admit it. Anne is phony because she allows him to kiss her. Those who engage in sexual acts readily confuse him. These superficial encounters strengthen his cynical viewpoint that most of adult life is shallow.
Sally Hayes is another girl who Holden views as phony. His disgust with the adult world is apparent in his emotionally strung conversation with Sally. He wants escapism from his impending life in the phony world of adulthood by moving away from New York. “'I said no, there wouldn't be marvelous places to go after I went to college and all. Open your ears. It'd be...