I believe Holden Caulfield suffers a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD). Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition, triggered by bearing
witness or experiencing, a dreadful event. Symptoms may include severe anxiety, flashbacks,
nightmares and a changed personality. I believe Holden suffered from all from all of these
symptoms at some point in the novel. Cases such as the death of his brother, Allie, seeing James
Castles’s dead body and the possible molestation of a younger Holden are all plausible reasons
for Holden’s PTSD. Ultimately, I believe Holden suffers from PTSD, as he displays many of the
symptoms, and has experienced many quintessential cases that could trigger this disease.
Throughout the book, one question that baffled me was, how did Holden contract PTSD?
There were many instances that point to the molestation of a younger Holden, but that is still
unclear. Other plausible reasons are: the death of his closest friend/ family member Allie or
witnessing the death of his schoolmate, James. Allie’s case is a sad one, but not an unordinary
one. It is implied many times that his brother died from a natural cause, cancer, which should not
leave Holden angry. Holden was also a young teen, 13, and should be old enough to cope with
his brothers death. Also, the death of his schoolmate James Castle was a gruesome one, but the
span of time in which he may have developed PTSD is not long enough, the disease is normally
prevalent only after about two months. While these two reasons may have exacerbated his
PTSD, I still believe his main cause was the molestation.
PTSD is most prevalent among young children, as Holden must have been when he was
sexually abused. But as research shows, because children do not understand the sexual
perspectives of adults, any amount of exposure could lead to PTSD. This could leave any child,
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