Effects Of Child Abuse In Catcher In The Rye

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Ruby Wax, an advocator for mental health awareness, wrote, “This disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body is sick you get sympathy.” She explains the troubles that one faces against society when suffering from a mental illness. In The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden Caulfield, suffers from the burden of a mental illness. While others debate otherwise, Holden endures a mental illness because of the trauma he experienced in his childhood, the neglect from his parents, and the actual symptoms he shows as well. The trauma that Holden experienced as a child contributed to his current mental illness. A study was conducted and Maia Szalavitz analyzes it in her article, “How Childhood …show more content…
In a study, Maia Szalavitz describes the effect of neglect on children in her article, “How Child abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness.” Out of all the participants that suffered from maltreatment as a child, 53% had depression. Brain scans in these individuals show a reduction in the hypocrampos size. This effect on the hippocampus makes it harder to deal with stress later in life. In addition to the hippocampus, the subiculum regulates the stress response in the brain. Negative emotional responses in the subiculum can lead to intensified feelings such as fear and anxiety, which can cause people to turn to drugs and alcohol. First of all, these affects on the regions in the brain, which are due to neglect, makes stress overpowering to the individual. Throughout the novel, Holden does not have someone he can depend on to be there for him. People are in and out of his life due to his continuous school changes. His absent parents make living in the city alone almost unbearable for Holden. During this time, Holden wonders about death and constantly claims that he feels lonesome. Holden tries to get rid of this lonesome feelings by alcohol. The rapid intake of alcohol is an effect of a mental illness due to a trauma. Throughout the book, Holdens tries to make himself happy with temporary things like women and alcohol. Holden actually needs someone constant in his life to love and guide him in the right direction. Holden quoted, “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher

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