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Psychoanalysis of Holden Caufield
Transcript of Psychoanalysis of Holden Caufield
Year of Birth: 1933
City of Origin: New York, NY
What is psychoanalysis?
Mr. Caulfield develops a superiority complex, and believes everyone around him is a phony.
" '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).
Please look to your handouts as we begin our discussion. Take notes and feel free to ask any questions.
Specific Behavioral Patterns
1.) What is he like and why?
Psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield
Riti Suresh, Mannet Dhaliwal, Shjon Stonehill, Urmi Jain
Psychoanalysis is a system of psychological theories that aim to treat mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind.
After various sessions, patient exhibits the tendency to tell lies and disregard others' emotions. The reason for the patient’s behavior and nonacceptance of adulthood is his inability to find closure after the death of his brother, Allie. The lies Holden tells parallel with Allie’s death. Mr. Caulfield also displays erratic behavior, sometimes speaking to his dead brother aloud. Patient claims to experience feelings of loneliness and depression. Patient also has difficulty maintaining relationships and even communicating with others.
this is a penguin. look at the penguin.
Holden does not fit in, and desperately searches around for people who understand him.
Holden develops a superiority complex.
He displays overly empathetic actions.
Holden fakes his state, which often relates to his psychological life-or-death condition.
2.) What has happened and what are its effects?
Patient is unable to communicate/connect with the people around him.
Inability to Express Himself
" 'Don't you feel like talking for a while?' I asked her. It was a childish thing to say, but I was feeling so damn peculiar. 'Are you in a very big hurry?'
She looked at me like a madman. 'What the heck ya wanna talk about?' she said.
'I don't know. Nothing special. I just thought perhaps you might care to chat for a while'" (Salinger 95).
Patient is unable to move on, and is stuck in the past. He refuses to acknowledge change.
Not Accepting of Change
Mr. Caulfield clings to childhood innocence, and is stuck in the past. He is unable to move forward and clings to innocence that he no longer has.
Holds On To Innocence
Mr. Caulfield is not motivated to challenge himself intellectually, and has been expelled from many schools.
Unable to pay attention
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Inability to focus on important matters such as school, teachers' advice, etc.
Mind often drifts to irrelevant topics
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsession with Jane Gallagher --> always saying he will "give her a buzz" and asking Stradlater about her
"Then I sort of started lighting matches. I do that quite a lot when I’m in a certain mood...It’s a nervous habit" (129-130).
"I sat down on the one right next to him and started turning the cold water on and off — this nervous habit I have" (26).
"When I really worry about something, I don’t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don’t go. I’m too worried to go" (40).
Constantly lies about his age to drink alcohol --> "One thing I have, it’s a terrific capacity. I can drink all night and not even show it..." (90).
"I must’ve smoked about three cartons that day" (161).
Holden is just a young teenager, and he is already having substance abuse issues.
His substance abuse is a result of needing escape from the pain of loss in his life (escape mechanism)
When Phoebe asks Holden to " 'Name one thing'" he likes, Holden can only think of his deceased brother, Allie and James Castle, a former colleague who committed suicide (169).
Christmas "[doesn't] seem like anything [is] coming" (118).
Holden admits frequently crying throughout the week.
"Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad" (52).
The patient displays characteristics of not caring for neither himself nor others; makes rash decisions.
Mr. Caulfield often lies and hallucinates of life and death situations.
Life and Death
"If I’m on a train at night, I can usually even read one of those dumb stories in a magazine without puking. You know. One of those stories with a lot of phony, lean-jawed guys named David in it, and a lot of phony girls named Linda or Marcia that are always lighting all the goddam Davids’ pipes for them. I can even read one of those lousy stories on a train at night, usually. But this time, it was different. I just didn’t feel like it. I just sort of sat and not did anything. All I did was take off my hunting hat and put it in my pocket" (53).
Holden is unable to normally communicate with the prostitute, and is awkward while making conversation. He does not understand the concept of sex, nor does he understand that he is not ready; he only feels that he must engage in sexual activity to be accepted by society and other men.
"Boy, did it scare me. You can't imagine. I started sweating like a bastard - my whole shirt and underwear and everything. Then I started doing something else. Every time I'd get to the end of the block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, 'Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie. And then when I'd reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank him" (198)
"The first thing I did when I got off of Penn Station, I went into this phone booth...I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the booth, after about 20 minutes or so, and got my bags and walked over to that tunnel where the cabs are and got a cab" (59).
"Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone" (122).
The idea that Phoebe will be different every time she sees the cases in the museum as she grows older depresses Holden, because he wishes he could feel the same way he did as a child. It makes him sad to realize that everyone must grow up.
"'Ask her if she keeps all her kings in the back row'" (Salinger 34).
Holden idealizes the image he has of a younger Jane Gallagher. He is reluctant to accept change, and would rather live in his memories.
[while conversing with Carl Luce]:
"'I told you the last I saw you what you need.'
'You mean to go to a psychoanalyst and all?' I said. That's what he'd told me I ought to do. His father was a psychoanalyst and all.
'It's up to you, for God's sake. It's none of my goddamn business what you do with your life.'" (148)
"When I was really drunk, I started that stupid business with the bullet in my guts again... I kept putting my hand under my jacket, on stomach and all, to keep the blood from dripping all over the place. I didn't want anybody to know I was even wounded" (150).
"One of the biggest reasons I left Ekton Hills was because I was surrounded by phonies. That's all. They were coming in the goddam window" (13).
Mr. Caulfield consciously distances himself from most people his age by claiming they are fake or phony; simply because he does not want to feel too upset when they reject his company.
"It started, all right. 'What’s the matter with you, boy?' old Spencer said. He said it pretty tough, too, for him. 'How many subjects did you carry this term?'
'Five. And how many are you failing in?'
'Four.' I moved my ass a little bit on the bed. It was the hardest bed I ever sat on. 'I passed English all right,' I said, 'because I had all that Beowulf and Lord Randal My Son stuff when I was at the Whooton School. I mean I didn’t have to do any work in English at all hardly, except write compositions once in a while.'
He wasn’t even listening. He hardly ever listened to you when you said something.
'I flunked you in history because you knew absolutely nothing.'
'I know that, sir. Boy, I know it. You couldn’t help it.'
'Absolutely nothing,' he said over again. That’s something that drives me crazy. When people say something twice that way, after you admit it the first time. Then he said it three times. 'But absolutely nothing. I doubt very much if you opened your textbook even once the whole term. Did you? Tell the truth, boy.'
'Well, I sort of glanced through it a couple of times,' I told him" (10-11).
Mr. Caulfield displays characteristics of acting before he has thought through the action and its consequences.
"I must've been drunk.. I kept walking and walking.. I didn't see one person the whole time I was in the park... Then finally, I found it[the lake]. What it was, it was partly frozen and partly not frozen. But I didn't see any ducks around. I walked all around the whole damn lake--I damn near fell in once..." (154).
"'I keep picturing all these little kinds playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-- nobody big, except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over that cliff... That's all I do, all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all'" (173).
"The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move...Nobody'd be different" (Salinger 121).
"All I know is I got up from the bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddamn throat open." (43)
The patient pretends he is hurt with something as serious as a life-threatening gunshot wound. This is likely because as he is intoxicated, and the mental anguish he feels from Allie's death personifies itself into a physical wound in Caulfield's mind.
"I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddamn windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that summer, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time, and I couldn't do it. (39)
"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. Then I got the hell out. Some stupid guy had thrown peanut shells all over the stairs, and I damn near broke my crazy neck. (52)
Instead of trying to understand Holden, Carl Luce recommends him to a psychoanalyst
No one listens to Holden
His inability to express himself may also stem from previous situations in which no one cared for his opinion
Mr. Caulfield is lonely, and wants human companionship, yet is unable to speak to others about his situation. He pushes everyone around him away, and is unable to reveal himself completely, or even begin a conversation with the people he loves.
Late at night Mr. Caulfield decides to look for ducks in Central Park rather than sleep
He often gets drunk and smokes (escape mechanisms)-he avoids reality
Holden thinks he is better than any celebrity since they are all "phonies." He acts as if he is doing the celebrities a favor by reading about them. Holden self-imposes his isolation by making everyone seem inferior to him, as if they are too low for him to even think about.
Although Holden does not deny that he is lazy, it is strange how he seems completely unconcerned about flunking nearly every subject. Holden has no motivation to achieve academic success, although he attends prestigious private schools. This ultimately shows that he is unable to pay attention in class, and indifferent in terms of a strong financial future.
Hallucinating of Allie's death
He meets Allie in his hallucinations just as he is about to die
Afraid of disappearing like Allie did, and afraid that once he disappears no one will even notice
Mr. Caulfield experiences feelings of loss; most likely due to his loss of innocence and inability to keep children from losing theirs. Caulfield aspires to be the "Catcher in the Rye" and keep children from turning into the jaded man Caulfield became.
Even though Mr. Spencer exhibits genuine care and concern for Holden, the boy "shoots the bull" and gives the old man a speech to make him feel better, while his mind drifts away. Holden is more concerned with the ducks at the pond than the tragic way his life is turning out. He is preoccupied with childish questions while he is discussing his future with his former teacher. This action shows how Holden is unable to focus well.
Holden admires the museum's lack of change, for he wishes to do the same
Holden doesn't want to change who he is and "grow up"
"Well, you could see he really felt pretty lousy about flunking me. So I shot the bull for a while...I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go...I’m lucky, though. I mean I could shoot the old bull to old Spencer and think about those ducks at the same time. It’s funny" (13).
Holden's reckless nature shows when he tries to fight Stradlater
Blinded by jealousy and rage, Holden actually attempts to seriously injure him
Shows no regard to the health of Stradlater, or himself for that matter
Angered with Allie's death, Holden snaps
Does not care about the windows or the station wagon, he just wanted to break things "for the hell of it"
Does not care that his hand is broken
Holden could care less if he wakes up everyone in his building
All he cares about is getting out
Doesn't even show concern for his own well being, as he almost hurts himself running down the peanut shell-covered stairs
hello. I am Polar Bear.
Holden has never recovered from the death of a family member
Allie's death affects Holden's mental stability and the way he views the world --> Holden may call everyone phony because no one will ever be as good to him as Allie; "You'd have liked him" (38).
1. Self-Imposed Isolation
2. Inability to Pay Attention
3. Not Accepting of Change
5. Inability to Express Himself
6. Holds on to Innocence
fishes. yes. look at the fishes.
1) no one listens to Holden; he continuously degrades people in his head, calling them “phony”
2) schoolwork does not interest him
3) wishes to remain a child
4) lack of care for his own life
5) unable to take responsibility for his actions
6) -Social awkwardness
7) Unable to consider the consequences for his actions; Acts before thinking.
What are the effects on Holden? Why? (Discuss)
Holden doesn't think before he says or does things
As a result, he gets himself into certain situations that could have been preventable if he didn't act by impulse
He does not mean to hurt Pheobe, yet his impulsive personality causes for him to almost hurt her in order to stop her from joining him and ruining her education.