A Psychological Profile of Holden Caufield

Topics: Holden Caulfield, Want, Suicide Pages: 2 (687 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Thesis: Holden Caufield is a hostile, negatively charged character that suffers from depression which stems from a desire not to grow up and a lack of closure in his brothers death."If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like . . . "(pg. 1) These first words that Holden Caufield communicates during his tell of events that brought him to his breakdown, show the pent up hostility that still lingers. This pattern of speech, the constant expression of negativity, is a character trait of Holden that shows his inner anguish. Holden also feels a continual need for affirmation of what he just said with phrases such as, "He really would."(pg. 25) or "It really isn't." (Pg. 89) This continual need for approval shows a lowered level of self-assurance. This lowered self-assurance probably stems from his self-awareness that he is an unreliable source. The reason he is unreliable is due to his deceitful narrative of occurrences. This is seen repeatedly as Holden builds an individual up as good or righteous such as Stradlater, (pg. 25) then tears him down later. (pg 43) This inability to give truthful accounts of individuals could stem from his constant digression from the point at hand. Holden freely admits to this trait on page 183 when he says "The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It's more interesting and all.""Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone."(pg. 122) This phrase Holden made while discussing how things were different each time he went to the museum, stems from an inability to accept that he must grow up. The thought of growing up has driven Holden into bouts of depression as inhis discussion on page 133, " It'd be entirely different. I said. I was getting depressed as hell again." This nonconformist desire has led...

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  • Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye, Little Brown and Company. Boston, 1951
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