Examples Of Mental Illness In Catcher In The Rye

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There are many stigmas and opinions surrounding mental illness and its effect on the mentally ill and how they function in society. However mental illness cannot be used as a scapegoat for all of one’s problems, as some issues are due simply to the actions and beliefs of a person. Holden is an example of such a case, where his issues are attributable to his thoughts and actions despite his mental condition. Holden is responsible for his own alienation from society through his categorization of the people around him and his arrested development due to trauma. Holden throughout the entire book calls others phony, and even his own family stupid, therefore alienating himself from others. We see this from very early on, calling every person …show more content…

“I can just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs.” (Salinger, 20) By calling others phony, he sorts them into one category, and himself into another, that other being not phonies. This cuts him off from the vast majority of society, who he views as phony. Furthermore, Holden greatly dislikes talking with any person from the phony category, knocking his level of social interaction down even further. In accordance to this Holden shows many symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome, especially Networking Aversion, which means “Not having taken the time to develop the deep connections with the right people.” (Nemko, 1) Holden has near to none of these relationships because he avoids social interactions with those that he considers phony, and for many other reasons, and invests no time in making deep, long-lasting relationships that may help him in the future. This alienates him since he is keeping his social circle very small due to the Networking Aversion, and has very few deep, beneficial relationships. Some may believe that it is the stigma around those like Holden that is cutting him off from society, and preventing him …show more content…

Through the traumatic life event that was the death of Allie, he was frozen in time psychologically, as the immature creature he is seen as now. The aforementioned habit of calling others phony is quite immature and childish, similar to how a child would call someone names when angered. “Traumatic life events can cause the child to become ‘stuck’ at a particular level of psychological development...s/he may, therefore, often seem immature.” (Hosier, 1) Allie’s death is something in Holden’s life that he has been unable to come to terms with, as he was never given closure. However he still never made much of an effort to seek that closure, simply asking pointless questions asking why Allie had to die, instead of just accepting the death. The result of the arrested development is his immaturity, and consequential alienation. Holden’s immaturity separates him from those his age and older, as the company of one that is childish in their ways is unappealing. His immaturity leads to people coming to the end of their fuse, tired of dealing with Holden. “Must we go on with this inane conversation?” (Salinger, 162) The immature nature of Holden grinds down on those he imposes himself upon, making them wary of their next interaction, and cutting him off from many. Others may think that it is undiagnosed and untreated depression that is causing him to become hung up on the death of his

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