J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye is a well-known coming of age story. It has also caused controversy because of its sexual content and use of profanity. What are the themes of The Catcher in the Rye, and how does the main character, Holden Caulfield, react to the world around him?
The Catcher in the Rye is about mental illness
The main character, Holden Caulfield, suffers from mental health issues.
Holden Caulfield is depressed
Holden Caulfield displays multiple symptoms of depression.
Holden displays intense emotion and turbulent behavior throughout the novel, suggesting he is deeply discontented and depressed. As a result, he routinely says that he must commit suicide and often fantasizes about it.
Holden Caulfield has a complex relationship to his sexuality.
Holden Caulfield's sexuality is a notable theme in The Catcher in the Rye
Throughout the Catcher in the Rye Holden Caulfield is struggling with his sexuality and has trouble establishing physical relationships. He is unable to clearly differentiate between the emotional responses related to being intimate and having sex.
In chapter 13, Holden accepts an offer from an elevator operator to have a prostitute sent to his hotel room. Before she arrives, Holden contemplates his history of failed sexual experiences. When he is unable to have sex, he gets angry and frustrated and blames Sunny for making him depressed.