The Catcher In The Rye

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The Catcher In The Rye

English 11

Holden Caulfield: Sane or Insane

One of the major themes of the novel The Catcher In The Rye is the discrepancy between what society as a whole considers “normal” and what seems normal to the individual. There are undoubtedly several behaviors exhibited by human beings that almost everyone can agree are insane, just as there are many behaviors that almost everyone would agree are sane. However, what is often overlooked is the fact that many human behaviors fall into a “gray” area, an area that is open to personal interpretation. Some people would judge Holden’s actions immediately following the death of his brother as those of a disturbed mind while others would see them as simply the actions of a hurt and confused young man. We have already highlighted and discussed many actions that Holden takes that are undoubtedly the actions of a typical teenager. However, we have also discussed actions of his that may be evidence of a disturbed mind. Recall the fact that Holden is in a mental institution being psychoanalyzed as he tells his tale.

For this assignment you are to take on the role of the psychologist in charge of diagnosing Holden. After hearing his story you must decide whether he is sane or insane. The answer to that question will be your thesis statement and what you will attempt to prove throughout the rest of your paper. If Holden is clinically insane, there is substantial evidence to support the theory that he suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder. If you decide that you agree with this, your thesis would look something like this:“There is significant evidence to support the diagnosis of Holden Caulfield as suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder.” If you decide that he is sane, your thesis will obviously be a statement that is opposite of the one above. Your statement of development will introduce three pieces of evidence that will either prove sanity or insanity. Should you decide to diagnose the patient as insane, refer to the guidelines below to choose three symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.
Your paper should be free of grammatical/spelling errors, contain a limited number of “be” verbs, use at least three direct quotes, and follow the standard five-paragraph format.


This disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of a disregard for other people's rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. This pattern of behavior has occurred since age 15 and consists by the presence of three or more of the following symptoms symptoms:

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