Holden Caulfield Psychology

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Holden Caulfield is a seventeen-year old teenager from a privileged family. He is the protagonist of “The Catcher in the Rye” written by J.D. Salinger. Throughout the book, Holden’s attitude will remain the same, disappointed and uncomfortable in this world, although he can be very sensitive. He faces a lot of struggles that will make his future difficult and maybe, unrealizable. His attitude will be misunderstood by the reader. Some will talk about his way to his maturity some will say he has psychological problems. But who is right?

Holden’s constant changes of ideas

Everything begins when Holden Caulfield abandoned the Pencey Prep School because of his low grades. When he finally decides to talk about his future with Mr.Spencer after leaving school, he persuades himself that he is actually concerned for the years that are coming “Sure I do!”; but then , Holden actually realized he didn’t do anything for his future and that it seems like he doesn’t care at all. After understanding how lonely he was at Pencey, he finally decides to join his family in New York. When he arrives in New York where his sister and him meet, the reader understands that Holden loves his sister, and that she is the only one left of his siblings, Allie died of Leukemia and DB is a writer in Los Angeles. He says “You never saw a kid so pretty and smart in your whole life”. He will regret having imposed his come back to his sister. Holden cannot keep straight ideas, with all sorts of decisions, he will Change his mind, to make his reality a little less bad.

Holden’s view of life as an alienated teenager

He builds an armor around him to protect himself of the outside world thatseems so hard to face. In chapter 2, Holden explains his opinion about life as a response to Mr.Spencer “Life is a game” : “Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right—I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.” We, readers, clearly understand how alienated and victimized Holden feels on the “other side” of the game, that is clearly explained as the side he is in. For a seventeen year old boy, Holden acts a lot like an adult. He drinks, smokes, flirts and makes incessant rude comments about life. J.D Salinger explains his drinking problems because of the death of his brother and because of the constant pressure he receives as an adolescent. The failure is unvarying. When Holden finally decides to step out of his alienation he can’t stop himself from making rude comments, again. As an example, in clubs, when he flirts with girls, Holden says “You're a very good conversationalist”. For Holden, a girl that answers his questions is precious and rare. He thinks his drinking and smoking problems will help him, it shows how desperate he is for a

teenager. He often builds castles in air; he wishes a trip to an unknown place where he is inaccessible so that he won’t have to communicate with other people. Holden is cut from the world.

Holden’s difficulty to face the changes in his life

Holden shows his struggle in facing the changes of his life by showing his interest in the Museum of Natural History. “The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was.” Holden clearly shows how he fights against changes in his life. He remarks that every time he goes to the museum, he felt changes in his life, while the objects in the museum haven’t. Holden almost envy these objects. He would like everything to remain the same. Since his brother death, Holden cannot accept confronting new situations because of his fear for his future adulthood, he would like to stop facing the one way street that is life. He would like to stay a child.

Holden likes nothing, yet nothing is too much

Holden admits he hates all...
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