Overview Of The Catcher In The Rye, By Holden Caulfield

1385 Words 6 Pages
When people reflect on others, they focus on a person’s actions and words. A person’s actions are caused by the unique and different personalities that they each possess, which can ultimately define who they are. Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalytic theorist who is the founder of psychology, has created theories that have greatly influenced the world. Among his theories is his psychoanalytic personality theory which focuses on the id, ego and superego, all of which contribute towards the understanding of human behaviour. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield goes on a three day journey to New York where he has the opportunity to live without rules and principles. Throughout Holden Caulfield’s journey, several aspects …show more content…
When it comes to one’s personality, it is possible that one either represses or expresses themselves depending on if it is the id, ego or superego in control. When the id is in control, one’s demeanour can be more outgoing and expressive as evident through Holden Caulfield’s actions, but it may not always be in a positive form. In The Catcher in the Rye, the id, an element of personality that strives for pleasure and fulfillment of desires is constantly taking control of Holden. As a result, Holden tends to do things that he likely would not publicize to society. In the novel, Holden narrates, “In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw. Sometimes I can think of very crumby stuff I wouldn’t mind doing if the opportunity came up” (Salinger 70). Here, Holden admits that he often has strong desires to be with girls sexually, however it is limited only to his mind. His id is attempting to fulfill itself through …show more content…
In the novel, Holden’s ego comes to light in day-to-day situations. For instance, when Holden says, “Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that’s impossible…” (Salinger 136). This shows that Holden understands that he lives in an imperfect world; he is thinking realistically rather than irrationally or idealistically. It shows that Holden may be living in a corrupted adult world but he has to be able to deal with it in order to survive. Another instance in which Holden displays his sense of rationality is when he says, “…What scares me most in a fist fight is the guy’s face. I can’t stand looking at the other guy’s face” (Salinger 100). This proves how Holden is rational in certain cases when it comes to fights because he cannot stand to look at the other person. This indicates fear or guilt factor built into Holden’s mindset which allow him to act rationally. Moreover, Freud’s theory states, “The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action” (“The Id, Ego and Superego...” 21 July 2014). With this in mind, Holden can be seen as a realistic person at times which is evident when he decides not to sleep with Sunny, the prostitute. Holden’s ego

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