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Many people in the world today suffer from mental illnesses. In the novel, The Catcher in The Rye by J. D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a teenager who just got kicked out of his private prep school. Throughout the novel, Holden demonstrates many qualities of a person suffering from some kind of mental illness.
Many times throughout the novel, Holden deliberately lies to people. He considers himself a terrific liar. One example of when Holden exhibits qualities of a mentally ill person is when he lies to Mrs. Morrow. Then I started reading the time table I had in my pocket. Just to stop lying.
Once I get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it. Ho kidding. Hours. (Page 58) The only statement that he makes to her that contains any truth is that he is a student at Peace; otherwise, all of his statements are deliberately misleading. Another example of how Holden is mentally ill is how he has extreme mood changes and can never make up his mind. One minute he s as happy as can be, and the next he s crying, or screaming. One example of this is when he was on a date with Sally Hayes.
The first comment he says about her is, She looked terrific. She really did The funny part is I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I m crazy. I didn t even like her much, and yet all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her. (Page 124) They go ice-skating in Radio City and then go into a caf to get something to drink. While drinking and talking Holden starts yelling at her and he also calls her a, royal pain in the ass. (Page 133) He does not realize that he is shouting at Sally through their conversation and denies it repeatedly to both the reader and himself. A third example of how Holden is mentally ill is how he is so depressed.
Numerous times throughout the book he will cry and drink and walk alone. For example when he s in the Lavender Room and nearly begs the waiter for him to put scotch in his coke. Can the stick a little rum in it or something? I can t sit in this place like a cold sober. Can the stick a little rum in it or something? (Page 70) It s the middle of the night, he s in a club alone, he s underage, and all he wants is a drink. This is only one of the many times throughout the book when he drinks alone and walks alone and shows clear signs of depression.
A final example of how Holden is mentally ill is how he can t distinguish fantasy from reality. He knows Allie is dead, yet he continually pretends to talk to him. I d make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I d say to him, Allie, don t let me disappear. Allie, don t let me disappear. Allie, don t let me disappear.
Please, Allie. And then when I d reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I d thank him. Then it would start all over again as soon as I got to the next corner. (page 198) He says this while he is walking alone. He doesn t realize that Allie can t help him because he is dead. He feels that the reason he reached the corner without disappearing is because Allie saved him. Many times Holden calls him self crazy, and on one occasion, Carl even told Holden that he should get a psychoanalysis.
But what if Holden really isn t crazy, but just a different kid. Since the story is told in his point of view, we will never know.
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