The Bizarre Holden of The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger

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The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger is a novel about a 16 year old troubled male named Holden Caulfield. Holden’s life is turned upside down when he learns that he will be kicked out of his fourth boarding school, for a lack of academic success. The story, narrated by Holden himself starts a few days before he is set to go home on Christmas break from Pencey Prep. He gets into a fight with his roommate Stradlater, and that make him leave school four days earlier. He is left with no place to go because he has not spoken to his parents to tell them his bad news. His only choice for a safe place to sleep is to get a hotel with the money he has been saving from his grandmother. He wanders the streets of New York City and comes into contact with all kinds of people whom help Holden put his life in order. Holden has faced many challenges in his life, the death of his younger brother Allie, from leukemia, the suicide of one of his roommates at one of his other boarding schools, and constantly being kicked out of different boarding schools. His younger brother Allie’s death has caused his parents much grief and, their lack of attention to Holden has greatly impacted him both mentally and physically making him send out a desperate cry for help. There is great evidence throughout the book that Holden may be suffering from some form of mental illness, he also exhibits signs of loneliness, depression, and anger throughout the novel.

According to The National Institute of Mental Health, “Borderline Personality Disorder is caused by trauma and neglect during childhood, it is marked by unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. Most of Holden’s problems surround the death of Allie. Most people with BPD suffer from; 1) problems with r...

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...onality Disorder can complicate medical treatment. He explains how important for a diagnosis to be reached quickly so that action can be taken to live a safe, healthy life with a serious mental illness. Even though the cause is not determined most patients can improve from this illness with time. There are some therapies such as psychotherapy and psychopharmacology that can lessen the effects of the illness. But the key is to be able to live a life free of chronic suicidality.

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Bantam, 1951. Print

Salinger writes Catcher in the Rye from a poem created by Robert Frost, this 1951 novel was originally published for adults, and it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.
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