Mental Illness In Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye

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“The Catcher in the Rye” illustrates the confusion a teenager experiences toward society as he fears the adult world. From the language and the scenes provided from the book, we can easily see the struggle that Holden is going through and that he has mental issues. For example, in the scene when Salinger explains Allie’s death, he writes, “I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it.” (Salinger, 39). Before I read this book, I expected this book to be about the problems a teenager goes through in the 1950s, and I still thought this through the middle of the book. However, toward the end of the book, I started to see the seriousness of his mental health, and that this isn’t about a normal boy who is going through puberty, but mental illness.…show more content…
The title of the book is “The Catcher in the Rye.” The title of the book is one of the major symbols in the book. Sparknotes.com writes, “He says he would like to protect the children from falling off the edge of the cliff by ‘catching’ them if they were on the verge of tumbling over… Holden wants to catch children before they fall out of innocence into knowledge of the adult world, including knowledge of sex.” (sparknotes.com). Holden wants to protect childhood, and this is the main theme in this novel from beginning to end. The reason why Holden wants to catch the children is because Holden himself is scared to enter the adult world. I did not catch this symbolism at first because it wasn’t mentioned in any of the previous chapters. However, this came out in Chapter 22, and this solved my curiosity of the hidden meaning of the title. While I was reading the book, I was filled with confusion and surprise as the novel contains many unpredictable scenes, but toward the very end, it felt like the puzzle pieces were being connected into their appropriate places, and the novel started to answer my
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