Mental Disorder In Catcher In The Rye

1230 Words 5 Pages
Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive” (Nietzsche 139).In this quote, Nietzsche denounces the idea of intrinsic merit and necessary differentiation between persons, calling it offensive, similar to society’s stigmatization of mental illness. Throughout the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the author J.D. Salinger frequently alludes to Roland Barthes’ quote that “literature is the question minus the answer.” One of the most prevalent questions that arises is ‘what is wrong with Holden Caulfield?’ From the beginning of the novel, Salinger hints that Holden has some sort of issue. This question is so ambiguous that Salinger places the leading …show more content…
Many others from various web based forums such as reddit and tumblr believe he may have depression or PTSD. These diagnoses are simply incorrect. Throughout his novel, The Catcher and the Rye, J.D. Salinger alludes to one condition more than any other, histrionic personality disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (“Histrionic” 667), histrionic personality disorder is “A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by...the following…” (“Histrionic” 667.) Some of the symptoms listed are attention seeking, acting over dramatic, and having rapidly changing emotions. Throughout the book, Holden is delineated as the picturesque of histrionic personality disorder, he displays all of the characteristics of the illness more than once, making him a textbook case of this disorder. Through doing this Salinger is able to use Holden’s illness as a commentary on society and the stigmatization of mental illness, emphasizing that we must not adopt arrogance but instead humility when it comes to accepting …show more content…
Holden often times changes his mind very rapidly and for no apparent reason. For example, in one passage Salinger writes, “But when I got inside this phone booth, I wasn’t much in the mood anymore to give old Jane a buzz” (Salinger 150). This is not an isolated instance. At one point in the book, Holden went from a raging horny teen who tried to hire a prostitute to lose his virginity to suddenly completely turned off and rather annoyed by her presence. This rapid changing of his mind and his emotions demonstrates how he most likely has histrionic personality disorder. Holden 's rapidly changing emotions put him in constant despair. Any emotion, happiness, joy, sadness, depression, is quickly replaced with a new one. This puts him in a numb state and leaves Holden and the reader seeing him as less than human. One of the defining traits of humanity is our emotion and expression of such, but to experience them in such a rapid fire manner extremely taxing on the human mind and body. These manic emotions can lead to depression in the long run due to not being able to experience long lived emotions. It ends up a commentary on the fast pace culture we live in and how this tears away our

Related Documents