Catcher In The Rye Madness Analysis

Topics: Mental disorder, The Catcher in the Rye, Sociology Pages: 4 (780 words) Published: January 12, 2017

Meaning of Madness
Nearly twenty percent of children will experience a serious mental disorder during their life (NAMI). With such a high rate of occurrence, it is surprising that the topic of mental illness often remains undiscussed or simply ignored in the analysis of J.D. Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” For example, in the article “Resistance as Madness in The Catcher in the Rye” Sorour Dashti and Ida Bahar discuss the role madness plays in “The Catcher in the Rye.” While Dashti and Bahar argue for Holden’s sanity, they miss the contrast between a thriving community of individuals and Holden’s self-destructive behavior.
Dashti and Bahar highlight the recurring theme of social observation in Salinger’s novel, with Holden sharing...

By exposing the madness he sees in others, Holden himself is not without hypocrisy. Dashti and Bahar, however, argue otherwise. “[...]we argue that Holden regards society’s acceptable behaviors as destructive madness. Moreover, Holden exposes no sign of masochistic attitudes[...]” (Dashti and Bahar). Unfortunately, Many of Holden’s actions do not support this conclusion. Holden’s self-destructive behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, not applying himself in school, and punching a mirror “just for the hell of it” clearly point towards signs of masochism and weak self-control. Holden also acts out many of his delusions, like the one he experienced after his encounter with Maurice. After being punched in the gut, a furious Holden describes in graphic detail his revenge on Maurice, and seems to enjoy himself greatly. On the same page, Holden then goes from a state of bliss to a deep depression in an instant. He recalls “What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed” (104). Holden is also a very good liar, which is a trait often associated with psychopathy. These characteristics, combined with his indifference towards others and an unhealthy relationship with his friends and family can be a sign for serious mental health issues, or...
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