J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye: Emotional Damage

834 words - 3 pages

Holden’s inabilities to sustain a normal life, according to the standards of people in modern times, led to him contemplate his life and the emotional damage he suffered from. His parents were preoccupied with their lifestyle and keeping up with appearances to really teach him good values. Due to the complex childhood that he experienced Holden found himself unable to connect to anyone other than his brother Allie, who suddenly passes during his childhood. After Allie dies Holden goes through a period of psychological dysfunction where he loses sense of not only his life, but his surrounding environment. Holden’s emotional damage stems from an absence of family unity, the loss of his brother, and a battle to gain his sanity.
As previously stated, family unity was heavily inconsistent throughout Holden’s childhood. It is as if Holden used his family’s dysfunction as a crutch to deem his behavior acceptable. Holden’s insecurities began with his parents and their fear to show who and what they really were, which influenced him to do the same (Salinger, 1). After his brother died, Holden’s parents chose to ship him to school after school and had little contact with him. His parents didn’t even know he had been kicked out of school. Holden knew his parents would be highly upset that he had been kicked out of school, so he hesitated going home until they had calmed down from the letter (Salinger, 28). This lack of family values and sense of disconnect, among other things, had a great impact on Holden’s emotional status.
The loss of a loved one isn’t a rare occasion in our society. As we grow and mature, situations and life-changing experiences slowly break down our happy memories until only fragments remain. Salinger discusses heavily on this subject in The Catcher in the Rye. Research states that “it becomes obvious when Holden relates his violent reaction to Allie’s death that this was the starting point of most of his problems” (Privitera, n.p.). Even though Holden was actually older, it was as if Allie was older and he was following in his big brothers footsteps. He admired his younger brother and the way he viewed life. After Allie’s death, Holden begins to worship his brother to regain a sense of psychological stability and sees Allie as the picture of all that is good and kind (Alsen, n.p.). As expressed throughout the beginning of the book, Holden has a hard time constantly trying to cope with the fact that the only person he looked up to has...

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