Psychological Problems in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye


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Psychological Problems in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye Jerome David Salinger was a very famous American author who wrote several books. One of his most successful books was The Catcher in the Rye. Other works by Salinger include the short story collection Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High The Beam, Carpenter and Seymour. In the book The Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield, became a model of the rebellious and confused adolescent who detected the “phoniness” of the adult world. (Microsoft Encyclopedia 98). This showed that he had a serious psychological problem. He never wanted to grow up and, he also never wanted his sister to face the world. He thought that the world was too bad for her to go out to because of the problems he faced in his own life. Psychology of a person determines that person’s personality. This research paper will attempt to tell why Holden suffered from psychological problems.
Holden is a teenage character who has suffered a lot in his life. He has suffered a lot. He doesn?t care about anybody other than his sister, Phoebe. He did not like the adulthood because he thought that every adult was a phony. Holden thinks that when people lie, they are being phony.

Holden doesn?t like people who are phony but he acts phony himself all the time.

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"I am the most terrific liar you saw in your life? (Salinger 16). He started taking it very seriously when his favorite teacher, Mr. Antaloni, approached him one night, which he thought was a sexual approach. ? Parents are model for their children?s behavior?(Ledouy 372). There was nobody to explain to him the fact about life. His parents were often busy with parties and work. They spend very little or no time with him or his sister. Parents should sit with their kids and talk and give them a hug or a kiss sometimes. This will give the child the feeling that there is someone to care for them. Parents should pay attention to their children or else they would try to do something that?s not right to get their attention. For example, the shooting which took place in Littleton, Colorado the two students did not get any attention from anybody. What they did was went around shooting people getting the attention of everybody in the world. Well, Holden, didn?t do anything so insane, but that?s what some teenagers do to get some attention.
Holden had his own way of judging other people on their occupation. Holden had an older brother, D.B. He was not very fond of him because of his occupation. Holden thinks that D.B. is phony and that he is a prostitute. The reason Holden calls D.B.a prostitute is because he is selling his stories and ideas to Hollywood for money. Holden thinks that D.B could have been a good writer instead he chose to go to Hollywood and became a prostitute. There was no one to tell Holden that his thinking was wrong because most of the people in this world had to work for somebody. Nobody can be successful by himself or herself. There is always someone behind one?s success.
Holden portrayed others to be inferior to him all throughout the book. Holden thinks that everybody is phony. He made several comments as to how people aren't as perfect as he is. "The reason he fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself" (Salinger 27). Holden had an inferiority complex. He was afraid of not having any special talents or abilities and used other methods to make him out to be a rough tough boy. ?Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o'clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight" (Salinger 150). Holden tried all he could to fit in. He drank, cursed and criticized life in general to make it seem he was very knowing of these habits. Now a days the teenagers have a lot of pressure by their peers and they try to do anything to get into some groups because nobody wants to be left out of the cool groups.
?Depression has been considered as reaction to some loss of or separation
from a valued person or object? (Liebert 210). Holden is very sad after the death of his brother, Allie. Holden is very close to him and loves him very much. Holden looks up to him and is very proud of his smartness and his abilities. Holden has a lot of respect for Allie. Holden still has Allie?s baseball mitt and he used to still think about him and he never got over his death. ?Death of a parent or sibling causes serious psychic wounds?(Liebert 211). He lost a person whom he looked up to and so he got more and more depressed about it. After the death of Allie, Holden is afraid to get attached or get closer to anyone because he afraid that he is going to lose them. Holden also tries not to get very close to his sister Phoebe.
He suffered depression with all kinds of trouble in his heart with nobody to talk about his feelings. Everybody cannot be as strong on the outside like Holden who keeps all his emotions in his heart and with nobody to share it. He has realized at a very early age that he has nobody to talk to about his personal stuffs so he has learned to be very strong and tough in his heart.
There are many sides to his personality. He is a very caring person too. His sister Phoebe, wanted to come with him while he was running away from his house and he denied her wish. He made the right decision because he knew that she wouldn?t be well off with him and he also did not know where his future was going to lead him. Holden?s parents have to be blamed for his condition because he did not get the affection and love from his parents at the time he needed the most. It became clearer that the children weren?t taken care of when his sister, Phoebe, wanted to run away from the house, too. Parents are a model for a child's personality and behavior.

Holden was never held compassionately by his parents or by any one close to him. So he didn?t know about compassion. He thought that the only meaning for being touched was sexual. When Mr. Antolini shows him love and affection he gets really uncomfortable because no one had showed him love and affection before. So he takes the affection showed to him in a sexual manner and leaves Mr. Antolini?s house in anger. In the end Holden is found in mental institution telling his life story to D.B. Holden ended up in the institution because of a nervous breakdown. He got the breakdown because of all the trouble he had to go through his teenage years when he was really suppose to understand the problems like other teenagers. His condition should be blamed on his parents because they were not there for him whenever he needed them. His parents were always out parting and doing all kinds of social things instead of being with their children and taking care of them.
Parents play a very important role in life of their children. The children learn from their parents. They learn how to talk and walk from their parents. When children don?t get the attention that they need from home they turn to other people or ways, for attention which most of the time are wrong.
This paper has attempted to demonstrate the reasons why Holden Caufield, from The Catcher in the Rye suffers from psychological depression.


Bibliography:

Work Cited

French, Warren. J. D. Sailnger: Encyclopedia Americana New York: Grolier

Incorporated, Volume: 24, 1996

Ledouy, Joseph. The Emotional Brain. New York: Simon Inc., 1996

Liebert, Robert. Personality/ Strategies and Issues. Illinois: The Dorsey Press,

1982

Morton, H. The Story of Psychology. New York: Double Day Publishers, 1993.

Musen, Paul. Psychology: Encyclopedia Americana New York: Grolier

Incorporated, Volume: 22, 1996.

Salinger,J.D. The Catcher In The Rye. Boston: Little, Brown & Company

Limited, 1945


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