The Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the rye

What is the significance of the plot in chapter 3?

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In Chapter 3, Holden’s admission that he is the “most terrific liar” one could meet is interesting given his detestation of phoniness. It is an apt self-identification, for his delusions are not so much about making others believe his deceptions (it is doubtful that persons such as Mr. Spencer believe Holden’s lies) but about self-delusion. Continuing to berate others for phoniness, Holden cannot recognize his considerable failings. He claims to be both illiterate and an avid reader, but when identifying his favorite authors he cannot identify any particular reason why he likes their works. In addition, as we perceive later, Holden lies to himself about shutting himself off from the deep emotion of love, since he clearly wants to love another despite his idea that he never wants to take the risk again after his brother’s death.