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The Catcher In The Rye, By J.D. Salinger: Society And Its Problematic Education System

1530 words - 6 pages

Holden’s family problems, his hypocritical attitude, and his admiration of innocence demonstrate that society expects too much from teenagers because society doesn’t consider each individuals home life. It also shows that schools are not empathetic for students’ problems, even if they affect their school work and education. Every single school Holden attended expelled him, despite this his parents did not choose to notice the reason behind his expulsions, poor mental health. His parents solution was to simply enroll him into a new school after each expulsion. The novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, expresses the idea that society has built a very problematic education system, where students are put under so much pressure that when they cannot live up to the unrealistic expectations they become extremely stressed and even develop mental disorders. The reader observes this through Holden’s family problems, his hypocritical attitude, and his admiration of innocence.
Dysfunctional families are very common and not always as extreme as people expect them to be, however even seemingly irrelevant problems can have severe effects on a growing childs mind, often resulting in disorders such as anxiety. The stigma against mental health in society prevents people from learning about how parents and school affect child development, which results in adolescents and adults with poor mental health unable to function normally in society.
Holden’s mental disorders are likely a result from his bad childhood, his brothers death and no sort of therapist or counsler to talk to him about his emotions and how to deal with them;“I was only thirteen and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage.” (Salinger 38-39). In this quote, Holden is talking about his reaction to his brother, Allie’s death. This is an example of a trigger to mental illness, because his parents did not know how to deal with him or that he needed help dealing with his brother’s death and as a result he doesn’t care about his education.
Holden doesn’t care about school, he fails all his classes and is expelled from each school his parents enroll him in. They are ignorant to his mental health and beyond enrolling him in new schools do not care about his education either, ignoring obvious signs of problems at school and in his head. “They gave me frequent warnings to start applying myself….” (Salinger 4). Holden is privileged because his family is wealthy enough to be able to keep sending him to different schools and support him, believing that what they have done is enough. Holden obviously needs intensive therapy which his parents could afford if they were not so willingly ignorant.
Holden’s parents do not acknowledge Holden’s very real and serious poor mental health, this is also causing some of his problems, their own personalities not being all that great. “The lamb chop was all right, but Charlene always breathes on me whenever...

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