Holden Caulfield Imperialism Analysis

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Ethan Lerner Mrs. Bonnell AP English Language, Period 4 28 September 2015 Americanism in Holden Over the course of our nation’s history, what it means to be an American has changed. Through different eras, Americans experienced “Americanism” in different eras. It began with the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” given by the nation’s constitution. It has changed into a worldview that is partially portrayed by the character of Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. During this time, an American was one who strived for success even after hardships. Through Holden’s journey after leaving Pencey, he tells of his opinion of the world and society in general and in very specific. These opinions are what ostracise him from his peers, family, and society. He believes that many people are “phonies”, or morons, or bastards (Salinger 17). This is because he is ostracised from them, so whatever they do is fake and unimportant as a coping mechanism. Throughout the book, Holden just tries to make friends, engage in conversations, and have fun. Yet, in most cases, he ends up being let down, rejected, or treated like a child. After each rejection, he still has the will to keep going. He asks taxi drivers, random women, a mother, a…show more content…
Even when he gets into a conversation with someone, even if he wants to have a real connection with them, he is a compulsive liar(19). He cannot seem to tell even a simple truth that would have no impact on the conversation. He is sometimes sorry that he lied, after learning that someone was nice and not a “phony” (83). Other times he is just saddened by people and how their lives have turned out. Ignorance is something that he very much dislikes. He would also not want to be a lawyer, because “How would you know you weren't being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn't”(190). His sense of genuineness and emphasis on being a good person make him very

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