Bipolar Disorder In J. D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye

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The teenage brain is a complexly wired, chaotic misconception that is constantly changing and exhibiting more emotions than a child’s mood ring. Today’s adolescents are infamous for their outrageous behaviors and immature obstinance. Their feelings range from elated to morose and can switch in the blink of an eye. However, some teenagers are more capricious than others, most likely due to possible mental illnesses. This becomes apparent in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, which follows the story of Holden Caulfield, an ostracized and distraught teenager who has flunked out of Pencey Preparatory High School in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. With an attentive analysis of Holden’s actions throughout the novel, it becomes evident that he …show more content…
Holden feels out of place and is living in his own dystopia. Returning to Sullivan’s article, she declares that symptoms of mood change in depression or a depressive episode of one with bipolar disorder consist of “a long period of feeling worried or empty [and] loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex” (Bipolar disorder…). Many instances regard Holden acting impetuously and him lacking necessary curiosity. Salinger writes Holden’s story into the beginning of the book; Holden discusses his getting kicked out of his fourth school and failing four out of five classes. In chapter one, Mr. Spencer read aloud a note that Holden had left for him at the end of an essay: “That is all I know about the Egyptians. I can’t seem to get very interested in them although your lectures are very interesting. It is alright if you flunk me though as I am flunking everything else except English anyways.” (Salinger 12; ch. 2) Holden’s antiphon to his failing of classes is nonchalant and careless. Conversely, it is often presumed that all teenagers have a recusant bias towards educational activities, that all pubescents are rebellious and need to be abdicated, and that all hormonal adolescents are lackadaisical and negligent. This is not always the case. Although a …show more content…
Another vindication is his jumbled mind. He is often found straining off of the topic throughout the book and going into detail about matters that the people in his society do not appreciate. More specifically, the New York State Office of Mental Health lists “jumping from one idea to another [and] having racing thoughts” (Bipolar disorder…) as a common behavioral change. Moreover, Holden behaves this way, which coincides with his frequent mood swings. For example, in chapter two, Holden is at Mr. Spencer 's house. He is talking with old Spencer but his mind is in another world. He notes "the funny thing is, though, I was sort of thinking of something else while I shot the bull," (Salinger 13; ch. 2) and continues on wondering to himself where the ducks in Central Park go during the winter. He is not paying attention to what Mr. Spencer is saying, but rather is monotonously responding to keep the conversation going. Additionally, the thought of "where did the ducks go" (Salinger 13; ch. 2) is repeatedly brought up later in the text. Holden is dissident and this passage represents him lacking a place to go and not fitting into the community. The repetition at malapropos times reveals he is distressed and afflicted. When parallel to mood swings and low incentives this concludes that he suffers from a mental

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