Analysis Of The Possible Psychological Issues Of Holden Caulfield From The Novel The Catcher In The Rye

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Holden is seemingly suffering from peculiar behavioral tendencies which indicate the he was emotionally distressed and he finds it hard to conform to the realities of the society recovering from the effects of World-War II (Roy 8). Holden finds it uneasy to admit the he had failed on his fourth school and decides to approach the world from his own perspective against the reality. Hayward comments on the cynicism and personal oddities that prevent him from conforming to the reality while accepting personal flaws Holden exposes clouded judgment emanating from emotional disturbance and egocentric view of the reality away from the factual circumstances (17).

Holden fallacy of keeping innocence and youth is totally unreasonable since it works against the natural and societal expectations. Hayward states that Holden has psychological problems which are evident through depressive thoughts and extremity of his cynicism (23). The protagonist is living in a cage of lies in which he behaves as a child including his fascination with Phoebe’s carousel play.

Holden thoughts indicate of a person struggling with symptoms of depression and psychological limitation which influence his decisions. There is a feeling of loss and defeat which is hidden in the pretext of wanting to preserve innocence and youth. Holden reaction towards trivial issues which are virtually unreasonable indicate the he is really depressed and reactive, “It makes me so depressed I go crazy” (Salinger 19). Holden is also attached to unrealistic schemes hence indicating his struggle with exaggerated view of reality or living in world of fantasy as opposed to “as is” scenario.

Holden’s plan to marry Sally while he got $180 is crazy and delusional hence inadequacy if common sense. It takes Sally to remind him of the reality, “In the first place, we’re both practically children. And did you ever stop to think what you’d do if you didn’t get a job when your money ran out? We’d starve to death” (Salinger 132). Holden schemes are fallacious and bereft of practicality since instead of thinking of his academic troubles, marriage seems to be a priority not to mention his ability to manage relationship with previous girlfriend.

Salinger’s novel offers a clear explanation of the problems facing Holden which could not just adolescence struggle but deeply entrenched psychological difficulties. His ability to connect with adults despite his age being at the peak of transition from teenage to adulthood shows the he is deprived of factual analysis of reality and common sense. The fascination with museum represents the kind of world Holden wishes to live in while negating the reality of the maturation and coming to age (Pickering 11). It is only at the museum where things could never change hence giving Holden the perfect image of his wish list type of world.

Holden fails to realize that age is time and time could neither stopped nor wishes away. The phonies of adulthood and decision to alienate himself from the world create the best environment for his psychological issues that lead him as far as retreating to childhood. Salinger offers the best view from which the reader could understand Holden outside the common adolescence problems which would be obviously cited as the reason for Holden’s cynicism and fallacy driven life.


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