Psycho Analysis - Holden Caulfield. By Dr For the past 26 weeks of meeting with Holden Caulfield it has been noticeable that he has

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1 Psycho Analysis - Holden Caulfield By Dr Patient Overview For the past 26 weeks of meeting with Holden Caulfield it has been noticeable that he has many different emotional and possibly severe physiological issues. He displays many signs of depression, including a lack of motivation in school. These feelings stemmed from the death of his brother, Allie. One emotion or feeling that is prominent in Mr. Caulfield s life is a continual loneliness and depression, as mentioned above. Mr. Caulfield never made it to Allie s funeral, which means he never had proper closure for his brother s death. The depression was so bad that it led him to thoughts of suicide on a few occasions. Not having closure in the death of his brother leaves him consistently depressed, lonely, and lacking in motivation in his schooling. Holden views other people as fake and sees life as unfair. His isolation and problems in school has led him to having a difficult time in relationships. School Right from the start of our meetings it was recognizable that Holden is a highly unmotivated student. He recently failed out of school and had already failed out of two others. The main reason he seems not to be applying himself to his studies is because he feels like an outsider in the social setting of school and also views many people in the school setting as what he calls phonies. He said of Pencey Prep, his school, They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hot-shot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time. I never even saw a horse anywhere near the place. And underneath the guy on the horse s picture, it always says: Since 1888 we have been

2 molding boys into splendid and clear-thinking young men. Strictly for the birds. They don t do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. And I didn t know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all (2). He is very clear about how strongly he dislikes Pencey and the way that Pencey tries to portray their school. The way that the pamphlet described Pencey bothers Holden because he thinks that the school is based on social status and being a hot-shot. He also thinks that the life in general is unfair and success in life is based on whether or not a person is born with physical and social advantages. When he was talking to his old history teacher, Mr. Spencer, Spencer told him that life is a game, but that did not sit well with Holden. Holden responded, Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it. But he was thinking, Game, my ass. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it s a game, all right-- I ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren t any hot-shots, then what s a game about it? Nothing. No game (8). Holden does not like the idea that life is a game. Holden is convinced that the only reason people go to school is so that eventually they can make enough money to buy themselves nice cars and other material possessions. When he was talking to Sally, a girl he dated, he said, You ought to go to a boys school sometime. Try it sometime, It s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn is the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty goddam cliques (131). Holden is furious at the fact that all people seem to want is a car and high social status. Holden brings up the Cadillac which represents the materialism and mechanical society he feels he is living in. His behavior indicates in this case that he does not feel like there is anything out there for him to pursue in school; therefore, school

3 seems pointless to him. Holden needs to understand that he has a purpose in life and a reason to be in school. Relationships Mr. Caulfield does not seem to have too many friends. At his school he has acquaintances, like Ackley and Stradlater, but he does not really like them. He said of Ackley, he had a terrible personality. He was also sort of a nasty guy. I wasn t too crazy about him, to tell you the truth (19). Clearly Holden does not view Ackley in the best light. Despite those feelings, Holden is desperate for somebody to talk to when he feels depressed or lonely. When he feels those emotions he tries to reach out, but he picks people he does not really connect with in the first place. While he was in Ackley s room, after his fight with Stradlater, Ackley fell asleep and Holden begins to feel depressed. It was even depressing out in the street. You couldn t even hear any cars any more. I got feeling so lonesome and rotten, I even felt like waking Ackley up (50). Even though he does not like Ackley he would like somebody to talk to. Moving to other relationships, Holden is very impulsive with his relationships with women. He once asked Sally to run away with him, and multiple times he has asked women out for a drink or cocktail. When he is on the train with a woman who happened to be the mother of a boy at Pencey he tries to make plans with her. Would you care for a cocktail?...we can go in the club car. All right? (57). He asks her but she shuts him down because she knows he is not even old enough to order drinks. He barely knew the woman but he is almost pleading to have time to try and connect with somebody. Holden does have a good relationship with his sister Phoebe and she helps him discover he does not need to run away. After Phoebe was mad at him and they start talking again she asks, Did you mean it what you said? You really aren t going way anywhere? Are you really going home afterwards? Holden replied, Yeah I meant it, too. I wasn t lying to her. I

4 really did go home afterwards (212). Holden finally recognizes he can be happy and needs to stay around for his sister s sake. In relationships, Holden needs to start looking for people that have the same common interests that he does instead of being continually disappointed by people that have a different way of thinking and living. Life Goals One thing noted about Mr. Caulfield is he does not have any goals for his life. He also can hardly think of anything he likes when asked by his sister Phoebe. At first he only comes up with his dead brother, Allie. After being asked by Phoebe what he actually wants to be in life he says What I have to do, I have to catch everybody is they start to go over the cliff I mean if they re running and they don t look where they re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That s all I d do all day. I d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it s crazy, but that s the only thing I d really like to be. I know it s crazy (173). This reveals a side of Holden that has been forgotten. He is a natural protector, but because he is so abstract in thinking he does not recognize that he could be going to school for something he actually enjoys. He also does not have any close friends and has a hard time fitting in a school because he does not think anyone he encounters is very nice. While talking to Phoebe he says about Allie, 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 you know that re alive and all (171). He is always comparing the people that he is around to the brother he idolizes. When he does this he is never happy because in his mind nobody can measure up to the standard set by Allie. Holden, because he feels he cannot identify with many people, has thoughts of suicide. He said, at one point, What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window (104). This shows the deep roots of depression in Holden s life. This idea he expressed

5 subconsciously when he has described a fixation on the ducks in the pond. When the lake freezes over the ducks are forced to leave because they cannot survive on the frozen pond. Holden identifies with this because he feels frozen out of life and school like the ducks. After observing the ducks Holden longs to escape his surroundings that he is frozen out of. When talking to a girl he once dated, Sally, he shows his desperation with this plan: What we could do is, tomorrow morning we could drive up to Massachusetts and Vermont, and all around there, see we ll stay in these cabin camps and stuff like that till the dough runs out. Then, when the dough runs out, I could get a job somewhere and we could live somewhere with a brook and all and, later on, we could get married or something Honest to God, we could have a terrific time! Wuddaya say? C mon! Waddaya say? Will you do it with me? Please! (131). Holden is very impulsive and thinks that life would be better far away from New York. Although he seems desperate to leave he does not want to go alone; for this reason he asks Sally to go with him. Holden does not have to run away from the world he seems frozen out of. Instead he needs to find people he identifies with and find his purpose in life. Recommendations Holden Caulfield is clearly suffering from depression, grieving the loss of his brother, and needs some direction. I would prescribe a mild anti-depressant along with counseling specially designed for dealing with the loss of a loved one. Holden needs to cope with the loss of his brother for his life to be able to move on. I would also recommend looking into becoming a teacher since he seems to turn to teachers quite frequently. I would like to have Mr. Caulfield get an internship with a teacher. If a teacher does not appeal to him I think a social worker would also be a great career field for Holden Caulfield. Once Mr. Caulfield finds a career that has a

6 purpose similar to being a protector he will feel more at ease with his life and motivated in school. If he is motivated it will be easier for him to make friends and fit in to social situations.

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