The Traumitized Life of Holden

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Psychoanalysis is a method of analyzing the mind and helping emotional and mental disorders by inspecting the unconscious mind. According to Jacques Lacan, a psychiatrist, “Human behavior is often something of puzzle, requiring concerted acts of investigation to discover root causes and multiple effects” (105). Holden Caufield in the novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, is a perplexed adolescent that is living in misery and agony from the past. From a psychoanalytical perspective, readers can understand Holden’s behavior throughout the novel as a troubled teenager trying to avoid growing up and demonstrates reckless actions like consuming alcohol, immature relationships with women, not committing to school and silly fantasy…show more content…
The unconscious is a place where a person holds all of their memories, thoughts, and feelings. Freud claims, “beneath the conscious lies the powerful dimensions of the unconscious, the warehouse from which our active cognitive state and behavior are dictated” (Freud 95). Holden’s unconscious stores the painful loss of his brother Allie to leukemia, when he was thirteen years old. Allie’s death has stirred up bizarre mood fluctuations that have molded Holden into a rebellious adolescent. Holden tells readers about his experience when he lost Allie, he briefly states “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage” (Salinger 38). Holden’s psyche has become so compromised with the complexities of dealing with his brother’s death that he too is broken. It is obvious that Allie’s death has taken a negative toll on Holden's direction of growing up. Holden grows with misery in his private world filled with depression and loneliness. The unconscious state unravels the psychological conflicts of the author’s life to works of fiction through the character. Examining Salinger’s life, it is obvious he has had traumatizing experiences similar to Holden’s. Salinger was drafted into the army in 1942 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. After the war ended, Salinger returned home and suffered a nervous breakdown and was briefly hospitalized. Salinger’s breakdown is similar

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