The Catcher in the Rye


Mr. Spencer says, "Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." What is interesting about Holden's response to this statement? What is the irony here?

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Holden says ,

Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it's a game, all right--I'll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren't any hot-shots, then what's a game about it? Nothing. No game. "Has Dr. Thurmer written to your parents yet?" old Spencer asked me.

The irony is that Holden does not see life as a game. He does not see the subtle maneuverings and motivations of people. Holden takes life seriously and literally. There are the hot shots or phony people and the others, like himself, that must put up with them.