Diagnosis of Holden By Brett Breidor


In 1945, J.D. Salinger wrote the book Catcher in the Rye. This book focuses on a teenager as he grows up and makes his way through life. Throughout the book, the main character, Holden, is subjected to many physical and emotional disturbances. These experiences have caused Holden to exhibit some mental issues during the story. The diagnosis of Holden is that he has PTSD due to him having flashbacks and reminiscing of his past experiences during the book.

Evidence from Primary Source

Throughout the book, Holden frequently shows signs of having PTSD. An example of this is Holden having a flashback, exemplified by Holden saying, "That kind of stuff' happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid." (Salinger p. 193) This shows that Holden has experienced some form of trauma early on in his life, and is now having mental issues because of it. In addition, Holden shows signs of being tense and on edge when the event was occurring. This is shown with, "Boy I was shaking like a madman. I was sweating, too." (Salinger p. 193) These things happening show how Holden is on edge after Mr. Antolini was in the elevator with him.

Secondary Sources

Holden shows numerous signs and symptoms of having PTSD. Of these symptoms, being tense is one of them. Described as an "arousal symptom", Holden experiences this when something happened that reminded him of the traumatizing event. Holden was sweating and shaking, therefore being "on edge". Another symptom that Holden shows is having little to no social support after the event occurred. This led to Holden having more severe issues later on in the book.


Throughout the book Catcher in the Rye, Holden frequently experiences physical and mental trauma. These traumatizing events have led Holden to develop issues mentally. The diagnosis of Holden is that he has PTSD. This is shown through the symptoms he experiences and the research that backs the theory. Although he might not admit it, Holden has mental issues that should be dealt with.


Created with images by TBIT - "dollar bank note money" • ElisaRiva - "head brain thoughts" • jairojehuel - "time tiempo count" • BarbaraBonanno - "hand hyperhidrosis sweating"

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