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Phonies People may not be what they appear to seem like. For Holden Caulfield from the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, he calls these people phonies. Holden despise people who try to act like someone in which they are not. He encounters numerous amounts of phonies in his journey throughout New York City and even before he left the boarding school, Pencey Prep. Many characters in the novel share this common theme of phoniness. Holden sees Mr. Spencer, his past history teacher to be a ‘phony’ person. Mr. Spencer was one of Holden’s favourite teachers in Pencey Prep. Before Holden leaves the school, he goes to his house for a goodbye visit. Mr. Spencer teaches Holden “life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” (Salinger 8) By saying so, he wishes that Holden understands that if he does not play by the rules, he will not be able to succeed. But Holden tells Phoebe, his little sister, that Mr. Spencer is one of the ‘phony’ teachers at Pencey Prep, “ ‘Even the couple of nice teachers on the faculty, they were phonies, too,’ I [Holden] said. ‘There was this one old guy, Mr. Spencer.” (Salinger 168) Although Holden thinks that Mr. Spencer is a nice teacher, he also believes that he is a ‘phony’. According to Holden, most people that belong to adulthood are phonies even his roommate. Although not yet an adult, Holden believes that Stradlater, his roommate in Pencey Prep is also a ‘phony’. Stradlater was getting prepared for his date while Holden watched him. Although Stradlater appeared to be clean and looked good, he was a ‘secret slob’. The razor that he uses to appear to look good was in fact “rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap” (Salinger 27) as Holden describes it. This proves that Stradlater was not what he appears to be, and as Holden puts it, he is a ‘phony’. Although Holden criticizes everyone to be a ‘phony’, he, himself is also a ‘phony...

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Phonies. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:14, August 23, 2014, from