Apathy And Empathy In The Catcher In The Rye

983 Words 4 Pages
Apathy instead of Empathy
Holden Caulfield is a distrustful, mentally ill sixteen year old boy, who has been kicked out of numerous different prep schools, and is extremely lonely. He is at Happy Farms because he has been showing signs of psychosis and other troubling conduct throughout his account, The Catcher in the Rye. Because of Holden’s current state, mental incapacitation and numerous problematic behaviors, he should remain institutionalized at Happy Farms. Holden has shown many dangerous behaviors within his account. His most troublesome being his relationship is with Allie, his younger brother. Allie died of leukemia when Holden was thirteen years old. Instead of dealing with with the loss of his brother, Holden had a complete mental
…show more content…
Holden feels alienated from the world, even though it is because of his self-sabotaging behavior. He is desperate to connect with people, but he is distances himself from the world because of how screwed up he believes it to be. Also, he is incapable of forming relationships because of his obsessiveness with Allie and Jane. Holden has always been in love with Jane Gallagher, who was his neighbor when he was younger. Holden first mentions Jane, when Stradlatter goes on a date with her. Holden says “I nearly dropped dead when [Stradlatter] said that… Boy, was I excited, I really was” (31). Holden has been caught up on Jane forever for many reasons, but a majority is his lack of growing up. It’s every child’s dream, to marry their childhood crush, and because of this subconscious desire, Holden is incapable of moving on to others. Holden is so lonely and desperate to find company and companionship that he tries to befriend every person he meets, including the cab driver, ugly girls from a bar, Luce, random children at the park, but his attempt at a relationship with a prostitute is the most revealing. When the prostitute arrives at Holden’s hotel room, he starts feeling “so damn peculiar” and asked the prostitute “don’t you feel like talking for a while” and he even recognized that “it was a childish thing to say” (95). Although he agreed to wanting a prostitute, he didn’t have it in him to actually …show more content…
Holden’s worst nightmare is to disappoint his sister because of how much he idolizes her. When Holden comes home to see her after spending a few days in the city, they talk for a while and she ends up getting upset with Holden for failing out of school again. Instead of dealing with it, he gets upset and starts yelling at Phoebe, saying “Now, shut up!” and continues to describe that he was “almost all set to hit her, [he] thought [he] was going to smack her for a second”(206). He has only known negative feelings from his family - his brother’s death caused him grief, his older brother caused him jealousy, he has always been neglected by his parents, and now he has disappointed his sister too. Ultimately, his past has led to Holden being severely depressed and suicidal. He shows this throughout the book, when he obsesses about wanting to die. On one occasion Holden says “What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window” (170). This suicidal tendency and his loneliness has lead him to be reckless and he is clearly inept at being a functioning member of society while disorder causes him to be drawn away from others, to focus on his loneliness and

Related Documents