The Catcher in the Rye

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In the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden expresses certain attributes of someone who is troubled with anxiety issues. From his disliking of activities to his obsessions of avoiding social anxiety and phonies, Holden exhibits improper language, depression, insomnia, and detachment, which together uniquely and clearly characterize him as mentally disturbed. However, at some points in the novel, Holden has an advanced language compared to that of Stradlater, Ackley, and others. In the beginning of the story, for example, while Holden was recalling a book he read, Holden says that he’s “Quite illiterate...but [reads] a lot” (Salinger 18). While Holden may not be the best writer or advanced reader, this comment tells readers that Holden reads more than the average teen in the 1950s, which is a testament to his enhanced language and high crystallized intelligence, or his ability to use his skills, knowledge, and experience. Due to his copious amounts of reading, Holden has a wide range of vocabulary at his disposal, such as ‘exhibitionist’ and forms of ‘ostracism’, among many others (Academic Help, Salinger 29, 3, 166). Yet, these times where Holden seems to stand out in his vocabulary are unable to be compared with the shocking 245 times he says ‘goddamn’ and the 281 times he says ‘hell’ (Lettiere). Salinger has Holden repeat specific words, such as ‘depress’, ‘crazy’, and ‘lonesome’, to help define Holden as a character, as shown through his behavior and thoughts, who is depressed and mentally disturbed. During one night, Holden stays awake to tell readers about the fight he had with Stradlater about Jane, an old friend of Holden’s. As a matter of fact, Holden stayed awake through seven more chapters, pondering and wo... ... middle of paper ... ...Community High School, 20 Nov. 2011. Web. 06 May 2014. Ledoux, Joseph. "For the Anxious, Avoidance Can Have an Upside." The New York Times: The Opinionator. The New York Times, 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 May 2014. Park, Erica, Catherine Myung, Chung Han Lin, Allen Qin, Nicolette Pappas, and Sally Moon. "What's Bothering Holden?" Catcher-Rye. Tangient LLC, 18 Dec. 2009. Web. 1 May 2014. . Quenqua, Douglas. "Children Can Usually Recover From Emotional Trauma." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2012. Web. 06 May 2014. Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown, 1951. Print. Smith, Brian. "The Catcher in the Rye." The Catcher in the Rye. Edline, n.d. Web. 06 May 2014.
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