Diagnosing Holden Caulfield
In the book The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden Caulfield, has strange tendencies that could be diagnosed as a mental disorder or multiple disorders. Thinking like a psychiatrist, this book has plenty to dissect. Reading a classic, such as Catcher, can really draw the reader into the story and make them feel like they are a part of that world. Holden Caulfield’s world has a lot going on. In order to properly diagnose Holden, consulting The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is necessary. This book is the standard by which all disorders are classified in all psychology fields. There are five axises that all disorders are tested on to determine if they are credible or not. Starting with Axis 1 and working down to Axis 5, this paper will look at certain behaviors Holden exhibits to accurately diagnose his psychological problems. Axis 1 refers to the principle disorder that needs immediate attention, of which Holden displays several. He has academic problems, mood swings, general anxiety, and depression. His academic problems are apparent right from the beginning of the book. “I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out…They gave me frequent warnings to start applying myself - especially around mid-terms...but I didn’t do it. So I got the ax.” (6). This clearly illustrates his lack of motivation towards his schoolwork. His mood swings occur throughout the book such as when he “horses around” with his school friends and then becomes really serious. Holden would often get really excited about doing something, and then suddenly decide not to do it (i.e.: wanting to call Jane up). His mood swings also could be a prelude to bipolar disorder, but saying he has bipolar personality disorder is a bit of a stretch. Holden is a very anxious and nervous character. Feeling general anxiety is most apparent when his roommate Stradlater takes his old friend Jane Gallagher out on a...
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