HOLDEN essay

HOLDEN essay - Yang 1 James Yang Puma AP COMP 12/03/09...

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Yang 1 James Yang Puma AP COMP 12/03/09 Holden Caulfield Psychoanalysis Whether it be fictional characters or real people, it is impossible to simply delve right into their minds and see how they function. There is no one door to open that will reveal all of the answers; instead, that one door may lead to a byzantine world that will consistently and completely confound outsiders. Especially complex would be to examine the mind of Holden Caulfield, the main character in JD Salinger’s Catch in the Rye , whose world completely collapses. The only choice that remains is to work backwards to find the cause of the breakdown by examining Holden’s actions, his thoughts, his patterns, and his responses. The intricate task of piecing together all that has disseminated apart will ultimately reveal the primary causes of his distorted view of the world. Holden’s reluctance of change, fondness of kids, and distrust of adults are rooted in his sexual abuse as a child, and in due course result in his nervous breakdown. Before the answer for the actual nervous breakdown is revealed, the cause of all of his aberrant behaviors must be evaluated. Although never explicitly stated in the story, in many different instances it can be extrapolated that Holden Caulfield was sexually abused as a child. The leading effects of childhood sexual abuse, as appraised by modern scientists, include outbursts of anger when being touched, and difficulty in having sex, both of which are displayed by Holden. In one of the novel’s most notable scenes, Holden finds himself terrified and confused in Mr. Antolini’s house. A previous teacher, Mr. Antoine pats Holden’s head while he
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Yang 2 lies on the couch, which put Holden into a state of hysteria. Mr. Antolini clarifies the situation as simply admiration for an old student, but Holden has already overreacted: shouting, “What the hellya doing?” and making up a story to leave (Salinger 192). A past teacher’s touch in what seemed to be a moment of care, to Holden was reminiscent of his past abuse, and in pandemonium left his teacher forever. More directly related to the sexual aspect of his sexual abuse, Holden experiences many difficulties in making love. Holden admits to being a virgin, and states, “I’ve had quite a few opportunities to lose my virginity and all, but I’ve never gotten around to it yet. Something always happens” (92). After so many failed attempts at losing his virginity, even to a prostitute that he paid, it becomes clear that the “something” that always happens is attributed to himself. When Sunny, the hired prostitute, pulled her dress up over her head in an attempt to seduce him,
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HOLDEN essay - Yang 1 James Yang Puma AP COMP 12/03/09...

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