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Published: 07-09-2019

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Understanding Holden Through PTSD Symptoms

One Johns Hopkins Study determined that 81% of young adults have been exposed to a traumatic event, although 8% of those exposed have developed Post-Traumatic Pressure Disorder (“Blog”). The symptoms of PTSD can be divided into 3 groups: intrusive, avoidance, and hyperarousal (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”). Psychological trauma of precisely this sort often appears after the death of a loved 1. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, is drastically affected right after the deaths of his younger brother and of a college buddy. Inside J.D. Salinger’s narrative, it is clearly shown that the terrible events Holden Caulfield has been exposed to all through his life have lead him to be affected by Post-Traumatic Pressure Disorder. Holden displays intrusive symptoms of PTSD, especially flashbacks.

At the starting of the novel, Holden introduces the reader to his younger brother, Allie: “My brother Allie had this left-handed fielder’s mitt. He was left handed. […] He’s dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946” (Salinger 43). Holden’s story about Allie is a flashback to when Allie was alive and properly. This shows that Holden does not want to believe that Allie has passed away and chooses to concentrate on the good memories rather. Holden is in denial. Another flashback Holden has for the duration of the novel occurs when he becomes depressed. “I felt so depressed, you can’t imagine. What I did, I began speaking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that often when I get really depressed” (Salinger 110). Holden is still speaking to Allie as if he is alive, remembering a greater time. Later in the novel, when Phoebe tells Holden to think of anything he really enjoys, Holden can only consider about an old memory of his, flashing back to the time his pal committed suicide although wearing his sweater. He remembers this vividly, pondering, “There was this boy I knew at Elkton Hills, named James Castle, that wouldn’t take back something he stated about this really conceited boy, Phil Steady. […] Lastly what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window” (Salinger 188). This event has a substantial impact on Holden James Castle, somebody whom Holden considers a friend, appears dead on the sidewalk wearing one of Holden’s sweaters, which is now covered in blood. This traumatic moment is forever ingrained in Holden’s head, and it creeps up on him when he is attempting to recall pleasant memories. These events show how flashbacks, a symptom of PTSD, influence Holden on a typical basis.

Holden also displays the avoidance symptoms of Post-Traumatic Tension Disorder. Feeling sturdy guilt, depression, and worry and having trouble remembering events are symptoms of avoidance that Holden Caulfield experiences as an impact of PTSD. A prime instance of Holden obtaining trouble remembering events as effectively as worrying excessively happens when Stradlater arrives home from his date. “Some items are challenging to remember. I’m thinking now of when Stradlater got back from his date with Jane. […] I most likely was nonetheless hunting out the window, but I swear I can not keep in mind. I was so damn worried, that’s why” (Salinger 45). Holden’s anxiety is far above standard levels for a healthier individual due to the fact it is affecting his everyday habits, such as utilizing the restroom. An instance where Holden feels robust guilt is when he begins speaking to Allie as if he is there with him. Holden does this when he feels further depressed, and it is usually about the day where he did not let Allie come along with him and his buddy, Bobby. An example is when Holden says, “So after in a although now, when I get really depressed, I preserve saying to him, ‘Okay. Go house and get your bike and meet me in front of Bobby’s residence. Hurry up’” (Salinger 110). The fact that Holden often recalls this moment displays his feelings of guilt pertaining to Allie. Holden also has robust feelings of depression along with suicidal thoughts. When Holden is trying to fall asleep in his hotel room, he writes, “What I genuinely felt like, although, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window” (Salinger 116-117). The a single issue holding Holden back from jumping is that people will have to see his dead body on the pavement, and he does not want to make other people go by means of the exact same scenario he experiences when James Castle commits suicide, which nonetheless has a traumatic impact on him.

Even much more intense than Holden’s symptoms of avoidance are his symptoms of hyperarousal pertaining to PTSD. Prevalent specifically for the duration of the end of the novel, Holden Caulfield experiences all of the symptoms of hyperarousal that are present with Post-Traumatic Tension Disorder, which are angry outbursts, trouble sleeping, and getting on edge. Most alarming is what occurs immediately soon after Allie dies. Holden goes into a match of rage, remembering, “I was only thirteen, and they have been going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I genuinely don’t” (Salinger 44). Holden’s reaction to his brother’s death is far beyond what is standard in the course of occasions of grief, specially for a thirteen year old boy. When Holden says that he does not blame his parents for having him psychoanalyzed, it shows that Holden acknowledges that anything is wrong with him and that he knows his reaction is abnormal. An example of a time exactly where Holden has trouble sleeping happens when Holden is in the hotel in New York. “It was nevertheless quite early. I’m not certain what time it was, but it wasn’t as well late. The one thing I hate to do is go to bed when I’m not even tired” (Salinger 74). Before arriving at his hotel in New York, Holden has been awake all day and been active, causing a typical person to become exhausted. In addition, as soon as Holden has been in his hotel space for a although, he decides to go out and visit a number of clubs, as nicely as go dancing, ahead of he returns to his hotel room and attempts to sleep. A circumstance exactly where Holden is on edge happens when he visits Mr. Antolini’s apartment. Holden is finally able to fall asleep, only to be awakened by something strange: “I woke up all of a sudden. I don’t know what time it was or something, but I woke up. I felt one thing on my head, some guy’s hand. […] Boy, I’ll bet I jumped about a thousand feet” (Salinger 211). Holden is distressed and leaves Mr. Antolini’s apartment right away after this incident happens. He doesn’t give Mr. Antolini a opportunity to clarify himself, and is paranoid, assuming the absolute worst about the circumstance.

Even though a lot of critics believe that Holden Caulfield is suffering from a mental illness such as PTSD, some commentators have argued the opposite. A single of the most frequent objections to the claim that Holden has a mental illness is that the feelings he is feeling are typical for a teenager. Whilst some of Holden’s actions are standard, his feelings are far beyond the realm of any person who is sane. Another argument against Holden’s abnormal mental state is that Holden is just attempting to make the transition from boy to man and does not approve of the phoniness and cruelty he sees in the planet he is trying to embrace. The novel begins and ends with Holden in a mental institution, which is certainly not a place for someone who is emotionally stable. Holden also displays problematic symptoms such as depression, suicidal thoughts and the inability to concentrate. The most typical objection to the presence of a mental illness affecting Holden is that Holden is just whiny and insecure. However Holden’s angry and pessimistic views towards the planet connect with PTSD symptoms, such as feeling on edge. Depression also triggers negative thoughts, which is an additional symptom of Post-Traumatic Tension Disorder. Whilst critics try to argue that nothing at all is wrong with Holden Caulfield, proof from the novel clearly proves that he is struggling with critical mental instability.

Holden Caulfield regularly shows symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a outcome of the horrific events he has been exposed to all through his life. He experiences intrusive, avoidance and hyperarousal symptoms which negatively affect his outlook on life. It is also essential to point out that J.D. Salinger was diagnosed with PTSD, given that authors usually reflect their personal lives within their function (“J.D. Salinger had PTSD”). No matter how far Holden attempts to run from his issues, he can not escape them since they are inside of him. Even though some critics argue that Holden is a standard teenager, information and evidence straight from Salinger’s novel prove the theory that Holden Caulfield is, in reality, suffering from Post-Traumatic Pressure Disorder.
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