March 1, 2011
You know that one person in your group of friends that just isn’t “all right” in the head? That you’re always kind of worried about in the back of your head? Well that would describe Holden Caulfield perfectly. J.D. Salinger’s Cather in the Rye is all about a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield in a mental hospital recalling a crazy weekend he had the previous year. It goes everywhere from prostitutes to illegal drinking. In the novel Holden exemplifies a borderline personality order with his mood swings, what most would call impetuous decisions, and constant morbid thoughts.
Holden has intense mood swings throughout the whole novel. Holden states, “I probably wouldn’t’ve taken her even if she wanted to go with me. She wouldn’t have been anybody to go with. The terrible part, though, is that I meant it when I asked her.”(Salinger, 1951, p.134). A sane person doesn’t just change their mind about going away with somebody that quickly. He went from truly believing he was in love with Sally to not being able to wait to get away from her. As it is, he decided her loved her after around 15 minutes into the date when he was just talking about how “phony” she was. Another example of his mood swings is when Holden recalls his fight with Stradlater. He says, “This next part I don’t remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddam throat open.” (p.43). Just a few moments before this happened he was perfectly fine with Stradlater. Sure, he thought he was a phony, but he thinks that about everyone.
Holden’s approach to making decisions in the novel probably isn’t the best choice. In chapter seven Holden tells us, “But all of a sudden, I changed my mind. All of a sudden, I’d decided what I’d really do, I’d get the hell out of Pencey right that same night and all” (p. 51). Holden...
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