Holden Caulfield Is A Troubled Teenager Facing The World Alone

1413 Words Feb 19th, 2016 6 Pages
In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield is a troubled teenager facing the world alone, unaware of the reasons behind his impulsive actions and uncontrolled emotions. Holden is a part of a wealthy family, but he can’t seem to find happiness after his little brother’s death. He remains angry at the world, unable to cope with his ‘depressing’ life. Salinger introduces the reader to Holden when he writes “lousy childhood” in Holden’s point of view, almost warning the reader of his terrible life. Salinger deliberately sets Holden apart in a psychoanalytical space claiming to the reader, “the first thing you’ll want to know is where I was born, what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me” (Salinger 1). Holden is angry and unhappy with his life and his family, but he remains unconscious towards the motivation or drive for these emotions. Holden is only susceptible to anger, not to reason.
J.D. Salinger exemplifies Freudian principles of the unconscious and conscious state of mind through this main character, Holden Caulfield. Sigmund Freud refined the concept of the “unconscious”, in which an individual’s deepest fears, motives and desires are kept from his or her’s control. In Literary and Cultural Theory, Donald Hall states, “no one is fully self-aware and in control of all of the fears, desires, and conflicting emotions that can propel actions” (Hall 105). Human behavior is like…
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