A Psychological Profile of Holden Caufield
Written by: Unregistered
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 Holden to have illusions of grandeur as a fictional savior, "The Catcher in the Rye."(pg. 173) The catcher in the rye is undoubtedly a metaphor, for keeping children from falling into the same norm as adults. The inability of Holden to accept growing up and the depression caused by it has made Holden suicidal, "what I really felt like, though, was committing suicide."(pg. 104) This one phrase shows the true depth of Holden’s depression.
"What I did, I started talking out loud to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed."(pg. 104) This bought of psychosis demonstrates Holden’s lack of closure on his younger brother’s death. Holden probably in some way blames himself for his brother’s death due too not always allowing him to play with him. Holden sees his late brother Allie as better then those around him today.(pg. 171) Until Holden comes to grasp with his brothers death he will be unable to deal with the depression and fear of growing up.
After performing a psychoanalysis on Holden’s case, one is compelled to feel a since of despondency for his future. "I think I am, but how do you know what your going to do till you do it? The answer is you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it’s a stupid question." (pg. 213) This statement shows Holden’s unresponsive behavior to psychotherapy.
It is due to this lack of positive progress that one becomes compelled to recommend a padded cell to ensure Holden is unable to hurt himself or anyone else with his senseless babble. Should this form of therapy fail Holden, one would strongly suggest for shock therapy until he is unable to communicate with another living sole.