Holden Caulfield Grief Analysis

1029 Words5 Pages
When one goes through a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one, his mind is significantly altered. He will begin to show signs of depression and withdraw from the community, usually engrossed by his own perception of the world around him. Definitely, person in grief suffers from accusations of self, a loss of warmth, irritation and anger, hostility, and restlessness (Lamm). Furthermore, symptoms of grief include impulsive living in a surreal and dreamlike state (Noel). In The Cather in the Rye, J.D Salinger reveals the everlasting psychological results of grief through a teen-aged boy, Holden Caulfield. Holden shows these telltale signs, which are assumed to be a direct result of his loss of his younger brother, Allie. Holden…show more content…
While the reader is not aware of Holden's previous academic life, before his brother passed away, it is figured that his declining scholastic success is paralleled by the lack of motivation from suffering from grief. Holden also ostracizes himself from his peers. Although he rooms with a friend, and mentions friends throughout the story, he does not seem to have any true ties with any of them, relying only on immature jokes to bond with them. The novel begins with Holden standing alone on a hill while the football game commences below. The image of a teenaged boy alienated from his high school athletic games is one that provokes strong emotions of loneliness and emptiness, and the reader automatically realizes that Holden is troubled. Before long, Holden refers to his peers and teachers as "phonies" and "hot-shots", characteristics he despises, and further distances himself from other people. It is clear that Holden has his own mindset, as he often expresses his own point of view as being superior to others. As he is receiving advice from a teacher, he simply nods along, silently noting his annoyance and hurry to leave, because he believes he knows better than the teacher. After all, most adults are "phonies",…show more content…
He latches on to any person he can, if only for an hour or two. His sense of insecurity that leads him to his desperation, confusion, and loneliness is a psychological effect of his loss. A grieving person may exhibit very dependent behavior, and some of their talk and actions may seem foolish and out of character to others, which is similar to Holden's reliance and quirky perceptions (Lingren). Holden's responses and thoughts are extremely unique and biased, and do seem foolish to the reader. When asked what he liked in life, he could only think of his late brother. After losing the one person he felt attached to, he becomes unsatisfied with his present relationships, and seeks the bond he once had. While this method happens in reality quite often, it is detrimental to Holden because he cannot find the right person, and is left feeling more inferior than when he began. Holden shows desperation with every person he meets, he asks at least 20 people to join him for a drink, and even pays a prostitute just to have a conversation with him. While Holden is desperately searching for some sort of emotional connection, he becomes utterly confused. He feels disappointed with the people he meets, but understand that he is different from them, and feels like an outsider living in a world he can't relate to. This also creates loneliness in Holden. He generalizes that people always ruining things and never notice anything

    More about Holden Caulfield Grief Analysis

      Open Document