Diagnosing Holden Quentin Bowden


The Catcher in the Rye was written by J.D Salinger and was published in 1951. The Catcher in the Rye focused on the different emotions and struggles teenagers go through. teenager want to keep their innocence and are not ready for the adult world. I had diagnosed Holden with Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a manic depression. Holden's emotions jump around. In The Catcher in the Rye Holden is impacted by Bipolar Disorder with his tenancy to change and give unusual emotions toward the many people he encounters.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a manic-depressive illness. A manic depression would have a swing in emotions. A manic person would be elated and have high energy levels, while a depressed person would have unhappy thoughts, such as sadness and can lead to other serious conditions if not treated. These emotions affect how someone would act around people and affect the type of situation the person with manic-depression would be in. Holden is a moody teenager, but he can become what seems delusional from his mood swings.

Do risky things or have reckless sex

The symptoms that stood out the greatest to affect Holden were doing risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex. " Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks" Holden's loss of interest in the people he had been around, or his past could have caused his manic depression (NIMH). Holden does not have much influence so he cannot make formative decisions. In the reader's view Holden attempts to have sex, but second guesses himself and recalls for his innocence. One quote to show Holden has a sudden thought is when Maurice, the elevator operator, asked Holden if he wants to buy a prostitute, "' Interested in a little tail t'night?' ... 'Okay' I said . It was against my principles, and I was feeling so depressed I didn't even think" (Salinger 91). This quote shows Holden agreeing and even though he didn't decide on his own to think about getting a prostitute he believes he can get away with it. Another quote, "'Don't you feel like talking for a while?' I asked her" shows Holden does not want to proceed in the sexual actions, and suddenly feels unready for the situation (Salinger 95). There are other symptoms that stood out to resemble Holden.

Holden Believes in having a serious relationship with a girl instead of going from girl to girl.

Feeling like they cannot enjoy anything,

Holden cannot enjoy anything he does. It is hard for Holden to make friends because he is very opinionated. He cares about everything, especially girls. Multiple times throughout the book Holden calls people he meets a phony. This affects Holden because he tries to sacrifice his innocence to be like so others, because he thinks he can be ready for the adult world. He believes he will be lead in the right direction, but he has no good influence. Holden hates following the norm. He likes to do things his own way. Not having any influence would affect Holden's decision. The NIMH says "Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme", which a applies to Holden, because his mood swings are not extreme, (NIMH). Holden does not enjoy the people at is school or the school itself. Holden states he also does not enjoy movies. The actors in the movies are phonies and the movies themselves are not enjoyable. " If there is one thing I hate, it's the movies. Don't even mention them to me." Holden does not enjoy actors because they resemble phonies, because they are fake. ( Salinger, 2)


Holden's emotions are truly impacted by having bipolar disorder. His mood swings are not very noticeable , but were present. He did many risky things, that he was not supposed too. Holden also does not enjoy doing many things. The people Holden is around during the book annoy him; Holden calls them phonies, because he believes they are fake. We will never know what truly happened to Holden, but the symptoms and effects have shown something.

Work Cited

National Institute of Mental Health. "Bipolar Disorder." National Institute of Mental Health, April 2016, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Little Brown and Company, 1951.


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