Theme Of Anxiety In Catcher In The Rye

849 Words4 Pages
Existential anxiety is the negative feeling that arises in a human being. In the novel, Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden narrates events that happen after his school, Pencey, kicked him out for his deficient grades.With signs of this anxiety, he quickly finds himself in a state of depression caused by his struggle of growing up. Overwhelmed and afraid, Holden runs the other direction when he is hit with the idea of aging and his immature and innocent characteristics allow him to wander astray. Holden deals with his existential anxiety from his greatest fear, but throughout the story, we distinguish him experience phases of self hate from childish impulses and attempting to move towards the path of self…show more content…
Furthermore, Holden starts daydreaming and thinking about his ideal future. He thinks, “I got excited as hell thinking about it. I really did. I knew the part about pretending I was a deaf-mute really decided to go out West and all” (Salinger, 199). As seen before, Holden is running away from his problems like a child and displays symptoms of helplessness because of his existential anxiety. Instead of facing the problem head on, Holden acts as if he is unable to live his idea self. Ultimately, Holden shows that he is in the path of self hate due to his childish and immature behavior. The protagonist, Holden, is moving away from the issue of existential anxiety and path of self hate into the path of self compassion, breathing, awareness, acknowledgement, acceptance, action, and appreciation, by demonstrating acts of kindness to others. In the beginning of the story, Holden would often judge a person instantly, such as Ackley and Stradlater, but later in the novel, we notice that Holden shows less judgement and more endearment in the form of the steps of self compassion. An example appears when Holden picks out a gift for her sister, Phoebe. When he picked out the record Little Shirley Beans to give to her, he said, “I could hardly wait to get to the park to see if old Phoebe was around so that I could give it to her” (Salinger, 116).
Get Access