Throughout the novel, Holden’s biggest fear seemed to be of being called a phony. When Phoebe, his younger sister, asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Holden thought, “Even if you did go around saving guys' lives and all, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys' lives, or you did it because what you really wanted to be was a terrific lawyer...? How would you know you weren't being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn't." Holden is concerned that when he grows up, he won’t be able to tell if he is working to help people or if he is simply looking for fame and glory, making him fake and superficial. He is unwilling to explore himself and see who he really is for fear of being called a phony. This fear gets Holden on the road to begin his downward spiral, because he is resisting the transition to adulthood. He fears coming of age and becoming a phony, and not being able to contribute to society what he feels he should. When we were creating our model, we really focused on Holden’s inability to grow up. If he doesn’t know who he is, how can he know what to do with his life?
As Holden continues on his path of self-destruction, his old teacher, Mr.Antolini, is able to sum up Holden’s instability very well, “This whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really got started." Mr. Antolini meant that Holden will never live a fulfilling life if he didn’t start looking for his purpose. Holden lacks the maturity to start looking for himself and confront his own feelings. I built off of this idea to create my structure by adding dead ends to the tunnels, to show how Holden gives up on life many times before he is able to pull himself up enough by the end of the novel to make it out alive, but not unscathed. Anyone entering this structure should have a feeling of hopelessness and desperation for a way out. Because there is no real way to see ahead or know that you are near the end of the tunnel, the situation is increasingly bleak. Even those who are able to eventually make their way out will notice that they haven’t really made much progress at all, but rather are able to look back on all that they did and know that they will never go back to it.
While making my model I was a little doubtful about how my group would be able to use suspension and be able to create the look of real underground tunnels. However, we were able to make a very good final model, with quite an eerie look, by suspending the tunnels with wire so that it hung from above ground. This project made me look at Holden in a whole new light, and forced me to really look at him more as a human being rather than just a book character that I had to analyze. I really had to dig deep into the novel to pull out the deeper meaning and feelings brought forth by its characters. I think this project was a fantastic experience and I think that because of it, I was able to get a much more intimate look at Holden’s life.