Lost In Past Moments Essay

1457 words - 6 pages

Holden Caulfield is an adolescent who is suffering in life and is isolated by the people around him. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Holden is unsatisfied with his life and has no one that he is close with. The only person who he was close with was his younger brother Allie who had died of leukemia. This caused Holden to change in a negative way. The novel is told in first person by Holden himself. He opens the novel by saying “The first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like” (Salinger 1). From a psychoanalytical view point, Holden is referring to his unconscious state in Sigmund Freud’s theory. The unconscious state “holds troubling or unacceptable urges, impulses, memories, and ideas” (Nevid 469). Holden holds many memories that may be uncomfortable for him to share. This is a reason why Holden is falling apart.
For Holden Caulfield, loneliness and depression happen constantly. He constantly points out something that’s depressing no matter what the situation is. When he leaves his old history teacher, Mr. Spencer, he wishes Holden good luck with his life. Holden thinks “It sounds terrible, when you think about it” (Salinger 16). Another situation in which Holden finds depressing is when he meets two nuns. When they leave, he realizes they won’t be able to eat at anywhere fancy. “You could tell, for one thing, that they never went anywhere swanky for lunch. It made me so damn sad when I thought about it” (Salinger 114). Holden admits being sad for them and then realizes that “it wasn’t too important” (Salinger 114). Even though he knows that this shouldn’t be depressing because it’s not important, he rebuts by stating “but it made me sad anyway” (Salinger 114). From the Freudian theory point of view, Holden is lacking in his defense mechanism. This defense mechanism helps to “prevent awareness of anxiety-evoking or troubling ideas or impulses” (Nevid 470). This relates to Holden because he has trouble keeping in his feelings about any situation that he is in. This also connects to the author, JD Salinger, who was in World War II at the time of writing this book. Salinger suffered emotional damaged during the war. “Salinger did not escape the war without some trauma, and when it ended he was hospitalized after suffering a nervous breakdown” (Bio JD Salinger).This shows that Salinger might have wrote about how he was feeling and made them as the characteristics of Holden.
Isolation is something Holden would rather prefer than being with people. This may be the reason why he feels alone and alienated. When Holden leaves Pencey, he looks out the football field. “I remember around 3o’clock that afternoon, I was standing way the hell up” (Salinger 2). This demonstrates an example of Holden’s isolation towards others. This might be because of his unconscious state. Holden may have suffered a horrible childhood and has his own reasons on why he’d rather be alone most of the...

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