Catcher and the Rye: Diagnoses

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Mariana Martin
Ms. Halloway
English 10
6/1/11
Catcher Essay
Holden Caulfield, the Catcher in the Rye’s main character, by J.D Salinger, clearly has a bipolar disorder. On many accounts Holden’s actions prove this to be true. There are several different levels of bipolar disorder and it is complex disease. The main symptoms of this disorder include drastic mood swings that vary from low depression to extreme highs, also known as manias. Three traits of this disorder that Holden specifically shows are thoughts of death or suicide, uncontrollable crying, and the tendency to make grand unattainable plans. Throughout the novel Holden’s mood greatly varies. There are times Holden is extremely happy and when he has suicidal thoughts. Holden goes from one extreme to the next and doesn’t know how to control his feelings. He continually mentions how he is depressed at random times, or the littlest things trigger this emotion. There is one time in particular where Holden feels especially depressed. “felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory”(94). While he is lying in bed he considers committing suicide. Holden feels alone and desperate for companionship but no one is willing to give it to him.

There are several times in the story where Holden starts crying and can’t seem to stop. The first time is after Holden had been drinking at a club. While he is in the bathroom talking to a man he starts to cry for no apparent reason. “I was crying and all. I don’t know why, I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome”(153). Another time this happens is when Holden takes Phoebe to the zoo. As he watches her on the farris wheel, he overcomes with happiness and starts crying. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going aroundand around. Iwas damn near bawling, I felt so damn...
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