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Holden Caulfield Mental Instability

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The purpose of this extended essay is to analyze the mental instability of Holden Caulfield, the main character of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, as well as explain how his Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder alter his perspective through comparisons between Holden’s accounts and reality. The scope of the essay includes The Catcher in the Rye, as well as __ articles detailing different interpretations of the cause of Holden’s problems. Holden is also the novel’s unreliable narrator, and his illnesses prevent him from accepting reality, thereby allowing him to create whichever reality he wishes were true.
J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in The Rye is well-known for its themes of identity, loss, and growing up, but its most definitive quality is …show more content…
Isolated from 1950s American society and its “phoniness”, Holden runs away to New York to escape his family, his school, and his future, as he can’t let go of the past. Though Holden’s casual first-person perspective makes him seem trustworthy, inconsistencies in his stories prove that he is an unreliable narrator, changing how events actually occurred in his retellings. His accounts become more unbelievable as the novel unfolds, showing the progression of his depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder through his inability to cope with reality. Holden experiences unnecessary guilt, loss of concentration and focus, persistent sadness, loneliness, and social isolation, all of which are common symptoms of depression and PTSD. The most apparent source of his pain is the death of his younger brother Allie, which causes Holden to feel extreme guilt and believe he is a failure, especially after not being allowed to attend his funeral. Several literary theorists and writers have written essays about the various sources of his instability, such as repressed sexuality, lack of a father figure, and even normal

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