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Psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield

Honors English 4A
by Pranav Bachu on 12 January 2013 643
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Transcript of Psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield
Sarcastic The Psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield What is Psychoanalysis? Psychoanalysis is
a procedure for investigating unconscious mental processes and for treating
personality disorder. Anti-Social Impulsive Personality Quotation: "I have to catch [the little
kids] if they start to go over the cliff. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye
and all. That's the only thing I'd really like to be." (173) Reaction:
He doesn't want to be a lawyer like his dad because he will not know if he is defending his
client to actually help, or for money
His dream of being the catcher in the rye conveys his wish to protect youngsters from the
adult world.
Refers to childhood struggles
Death of Allie and James Castle.
He must grow up before his time.
Holden concludes that the adult world is full of phonies, bullies, and criminals.
Wants to help others hold their innocence and youthfulness When did this happen?
When Holden comes to see Phoebe and she asks him what he wants to be in life. Holden's
gets his personality from certain situations that he faces Quote: "Just because somebody's
dead you don't stop liking them, for God's sake-especially if they were about a thousand times
nicer than the people that're alive" (171) What does this mean? Holden cannot connect with
people no matter what age.
He cannot change that aspect of himself
He can't find the common ground that interests him like the rest of society. Quotation: " I
don't even know why I started all that stuff with her. I mean about going away somewhere, or
Massachusetts and Vermont and all [...] She wouldn't have been anybody to go with. The
terrible part, though, is that I meant it when I asked her" (134). What does this mean? Holden
is faced with the possibility that he will not be successful.
Holden becomes desperate and asks Sally to run away with him.
Holden does not enjoy Sally's company and he thinks shes a bore
Sally has to remind him that neither of them are old enough to become independent
Shows that Holden speaks without thinking of consequences. Quotation: "I was still sort of
crying. I was so damn mad and nervous and all. 'You're a dirty moron,' I said. 'You're a stupid
chiseling moron, and in about two years you'll be one of those scraggy guys that come up to
you on the street and ask for a dime for coffee" (103). What does this mean? This happens
when Maurice cheats Holden.
He starts to become emotional and begins to cry when Maurice threatens him
Holden insults him without thinking about his consequences
This causes Maurice to punch him in the stomach. Quotation: " 'You're not going. Now, shut

up! Gimme that bag' I said. I took the bag off her. I was almost all set to hit her. I thought I
was going to smack her for a second. I really did. She started to cry" (206). What does this
mean? When Holden decides to leave his family for a fresh start
Holden knows if Phoebe comes, she wont be able to learn.
Holden does not want Phoebe to become like him
He forbids Phoebe to follow him, and almost hits her by mistake out of impulse, but instead
frightens her. Sensitive Quotation: " I thought of her going in a store and buying it, and
nobody in the store knowing she was a prostitute and all. The salesman probably thought she
was just a regular girl. It made me feel sad as hell." (96) What does this mean? Shows
Holden's sensitive side.
When Sunny sits on his lap, Holden feels "much more depressed than sexy" (95).
Sunny's situation depresses him.
He longs for childhood innocence, protected from the nefarious adult world. Quotation: "All
the visitors could get in their cars and turn on their radios and all and then go someplace nice
for dinner- everybody except Allie [...] I know it's only his body and all that's in the cemetery,
and his soul's in Heaven and all that crap, but I couldn't stand it anyway" (156). What does
this mean? Holden feels that his brother still has a presence within their lives.
Holden doesn't truly believe Allie is gone because his body rests in a cemetery, rather than a
place where it could not be found Quotation: "Then, all of a sudden, I started to cry. I couldn't
help it. I did it so nobody could hear me, but I did it. It scared the hell out of old Phoebe when
I started doing it, and she came over and tried to make me stop" (179). What does this mean?
When Holden takes Phoebes christmas dough, he cries because he takes her money and
deprives her from her privileges.
He is embarrassed and is humbled by his sisters generosity and care towards him, her older
sibling.
He feels guilty for taking her money, meant for her happiness, and ends up crying as a result.
Attention Seeking Quotation: " Old Stradlater watched me in the mirror while he was shaving.
All I need's an audience. I'm an exhibitionist" (29). What does this mean? Holden admits that
he is an exhibitionist, or someone who acts in order to gain attention from others
He performs for Stradlater while he is shaving, regardless of whether he is paying attention.
Quotation: "I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I
liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddamn voice, 'Sleep tight, ya morons!" I'll bet I
woke up every bastard on the whole floor" (52) What does this mean? Holden decides to
leave Pencey without telling anyone
He purposely disrupts the atmosphere by shouting a farewell message while the others are
resting.
He disregards the feeling of those around him in order to gain attention from his peers.
Quotation: "Then I started reading this timetable I had in my pocket. Just to stop lying. Once I
get started, I can go on for hours if I feel like it. No kidding, Hours" (58) What does this
mean? Holden meets Ernest Morrow's mother on the train ride away from Pency and gains
her sympathy
Holden takes advantage of her kindness in order to receive attention
He admits that in order to hold someone's attention, he is willing to lie about himself
Quotation: If somebody, some girl in an awful-looking hat, for instance, comes all the way to
New York--from Seattle, Washington, for Gods sake--and ends up getting up early in the
morning to see the goddam first show at Radio City Music Hall, it makes me so depressed I
cant stand it. I'dve bought the whole three of them a hundred drinks if only they hadnt told
me that. (75). What does this mean? At a bar, Holden shows interest in three girls who claim
to be from Seattle, and seem to be lonely and desperate for a handsome guy to pick them up.
Holden seems to become desperate for their attention, regardless of whether or not they

reciprocate any interest. Behavior Judgemental Quotation: " If there's one thing I hate, it's the
movies. Don't even mention them to me" (2). Holden does not agree with the fact that his
brother went to Hollywood to write stories.
He automatically holds an animosity to all movies, without watching them
He assumes just because he thinks his brother is better than those types of movies, Hollywood
is terrible. Quotation: " There was a very Joe Yale-looking guy, in...one of those flitty looking
Tattersall vests. All those Ivy League bastards look alike. My father wants me to go to
Yale..but I swear, I wouldn't go to one of those Ivy League colleges if I was dying" (85).
Holden remarks that all Yale students look the same, in those "flitty" (gay) looking sweaters.
He develops antipathy for those men.
States that he would never go to an Ivy College
All of this is based on his dislike of their clothing. Quotation: "I was the goddam manager of
the fencing team. Very big deal." (3). There isn't a very big hype for the the fencing matches.
Holden mocks the fencing team.
His use of the word "goddam" emphasizes the foolishness.
It is obviously not a big deal. Quotation: "What a lady, boy. A queen for Chrissake." (72)
Holden hates the girl he's dancing with, and her lack of interest in him is the exact opposite of
being a virtuous queen
Her quick and continuous remark of his use of language annoys him, as do her manners which
seem quite stuck up to him. Reactions Blames other people Quotation: "It wasn't all my fault.
I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we'd know where to get off." (3) This happens
after Holden loses his Fencing team's equipment. What does Holden's reaction show to the
situation? Reaction:
Holden blames things on others, never stopping to account for his faults.
He whines about how he is the only one who had to be responsible for directing his team to
the game, but his position as manager of the fencing team endows him with that responsibility
He does not want to admit he is at fault. Quotation: "I wasn't crazy about talking to old
Mrs.Hayes on the phone. She said I was wild and that I had no direction in life." (59). This
happens after Holden arrives in NYC, debating whether to call Sally Hayes What does
Holden's reaction show to the situation? Reaction:
Holden openly states that he "was flunking four subjects and not applying [himself] and all"
He still acts with incredulity when Mrs. Hayes says he has no direction in life (4).
Holden has been making rash decisions, such as leaving school early, which shows his wild
nature.
He also spins a tremendous lie to Mrs. Morrow, just for "the heck of it".
He smokes.
He does not want to associate with Mrs. Hayes because she stated the truth about his faults.
He acts as if she was the problem.
He will not accept that he is just as fault with life as the rest of the "phony world" Denial
Quotations:
You dont like anything thats happening. You dont like any schools. You dont like a
million things.
Yes I do. yes I do. Sure I do. Dont say that.
Name one thing [that he likes]. You cant even think of one thing.
I like Allie. And I like doing what what Im doing right now, sitting here with you, (169,
171)
"All i could think about...was this one boy at Elkton Hills named James Castle. He was dead"
(170) This happens when Allie tries to tell Holden that he does not like anything Reaction:
When Phoebe asks Holden to name one thing that he likes, Holden does not know what to say
Phoebe claims that he does not like anything

Holden refuses to admit the fact that he is a lonely person.


He answers by saying his brother Allie, and being with Phoebe make him happy.
Phoebe points out that Allie is dead and that it doesn't count.
He retorts by saying that just because somebody is dead, one cannot just stop liking them "especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that're alive"
(171).
He also condemns the thought that people alive are good as well.
Holden thinks of James Castle, another dead person whom he likes and since all the people he
could think of that he likes are dead, this proves that he's not pleased with people alive
Protection from Adulthood Anti-Social Cause: The death of Allie because darkens his view of
the rest of the world
*Holden is blamed for either neglecting his responsibility or for his inappropriate behavior

What this shows about Holden: He is defensive and depressed ,without any closure, and
assumes the world is flawed, but wont admit he thinks that. It is how he deals with it, and
proves his denial. Cause: Holden is forced to grow up quickly and loses his innocence after
Allies and James' death when he learns the harsh realities of life.

What this says about Holden: He is forced to give up his youth at a young age, so he shields
those younger than him from what he views as the corrupt adult life, and tries to keep them
from growing up. Cause:The death of Allie and James Castle

What this says about Holden: He is depressed since everyone he likes is dead and without any
closure, he assumes the world is flawed, but wont admit he thinks that. Cause:
Holden views the adult world as corrupt after Allies death and does not share any common
ground with others.

What it says about Holden:


Holden does not fit into society and he distrusts and dislikes others. He highlights the faults in
others and becomes cynical and pessimistic. Cause:
Holden is impulsive and is easily controlled by strong emotions.

What this shows about Holden:


He often acts or says things without thinking, causing him to regret his actions later. He uses
violence against others and sometimes insults them unintentionally. Cause: Holden refuses to
have sex with the prostitute and still pays her, and he feels guilty when he takes Phoebes
Christmas money that was meant to be used to buy her presents.
What this shows about Holden: Holden is sensitive and doesnt want to take advantage of
anyone or do them harm. He cant bring himself to have sex, showing his innocence. Cause:
When Allie dies, Holden flunks school to gain attention from his parents, but they send him to
other boarding schools instead.
What it says about him:
Holden has not fully accepted Allies death yet, and he tries to get attention from others to
cope with his loneliness. Cause: Allies and Jamesdeath causes Holden to grow up quickly,
stealing away his youth, and he starts to believe that adults are disguised criminals.
What this shows about Holden: He jumps to conclusions easily and is judgemental. He
assumes that if one person or one item is bad, then everything and everyone else in the same
group must be the same. Lets talk about Holden's reactions to some very important situations
that he has to face... Cause: The death of Allie and James Castle give Holden a darker and
satirical perspective of the world.

What this shows about Holden:Holden is cynical, sarcastic, and does everything halfheartedly. He does not care about what he takes part in. Quotation:What he was doing was,
he was sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of
petting me or patting me on the goddam head. Boy, Ill bet I jumped about a thousand feet
(192). Reaction: Holden has not given any indications that he received parental affection as a
child. He continuously flunks schools as a way to gain attention, but his parents just haul him
off to another school. Therefore, when Mr. Antolini exhibits an affection for Holden, Holden
is freaked, and tries to escape. This type of communication is new to him, which makes him
cautious. Holden has faced great trauma early in his life, with the death of his brother Allie.
This has a great effect upon Holden.
It is responsible for his unique behavior and attitude in the novel. Pranav Bachu Abhishek
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