Holden Caulfield Psychological Analysis

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Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy living in New York, has been sent to multiple boarding schools and share many similar experiences with J. D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is not like normal teenagers, who are full of life, crave adventure and look forward to new experiences. In contrast, he hates many things, gets depressed, especially around young children, and thinks that everybody; but, mostly adults are phony. On a psychological level, there are many factors in his childhood experience which may have influenced why he acts and thinks such a way. By applying Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, it is easier to understand what motivates Holden’s thoughts and actions, in addition to what Salinger experienced …show more content…
Following Sigmund’s footsteps, she introduced her own ideas based on the ego and some of its defense mechanisms. In her list of defense mechanisms, one that can be observed in Holden’s actions was regression. Regression occurs in a person who is frightened or becomes childish. For example, after the scene when Sunny, the prostitute, and the elevator man gave him a surprise visit, he admits,“ I pictured myself coming from the goddamn bathroom, dressed and all, with my automatic in my pocket, and staggering around a little at a time” (pg. 104). Holden’s mind takes him back to fantasy world, where he gets revenge on the man from the elevator. His ego does this to help him calm down from what just happened to him in the last ten …show more content…
D. Salinger wrote The Catcher in The Rye , he let his childhood experiences influence his writings. The setting of the story takes place in New York, which is also where Salinger grew up. Like Holden, Salinger moved schools a lot, and his parents eventually decided to place him in a military academy. This can be seen towards the middle of the book, when Holden comes home and tells his younger sister that nothing bad will happen to him for getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. He quickly replies back about his dad saying, "No, he won 't. The worst he 'll do, he 'll give me hell again, and then he 'll send me to that goddamn military school” (pg. 166). Salinger shares this about his life through Holden so that the readers can understand what his dad was like. He would just “give him hell”, which could be a long lecture, and threaten him by telling him that he is going to get sent to a military

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