Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Mind Threatening Illness

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A Mind Threatening Illness:
Comparing two characters and their case of PTSD

Eric Best
Mr. Hessel
March 22nd, 2012
Word Count: 793
Igby Slocumb from Burr Steers’ film Igby Goes Down and Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger’s award winning novel The Catcher in the Rye are both troubled adolescences from events that occurred in their past. These two teens both have a case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but show much different symptoms, which are apparent to those around them. These symptoms are portrayed in different incidents throughout both the film and the novel, when Holden constantly remembers his brother, when Igby cannot handle his mother’s death, and Igby’s steady fear of becoming like his supposed-to-be father. Holden’s main reason for having symptoms of PTSD is the tragic death of his younger brother Allie, who had died of Leukemia when he was eleven. One of Holden’s obvious symptoms is his reoccurring memories of his deceased brother. When Stradlater requested that Holden write a composition for English class for him, he decided to write about his brother Allie’s baseball glove. As he begins writing, it brings memories back to him. He says “He’s dead now. He got Leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18th, 1946. You’d have liked him” (Salinger, Page 38). This quotation indicates how Holden remembers his brother’s death in detail, and it is proof that he has reoccurring memories of the traumatic event of Allie’s death. Another symptom of PTSD that Holden shows is his rage fit shortly following his brother’s death. “I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn’t do it” (Salinger, Page 39). This quote shows how enraged and disturbed Holden was that night by telling us how violently he reacted. Holden’s case of PTSD...
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