The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in the Rye question

The cold/disease Holden got?
Randye Randye Sep 10, 2012 09:00PM
Does anyone know or have an idea of the disease or cold Holden got? What Salinger was conveying?

Ginnie (last edited Sep 10, 2012 10:44PM ) Sep 10, 2012 10:39PM   1 vote
I don't, but personally I like to think two things. One: Holden talks about the possibility of getting pneumonia and what would happen if he did. He brings his sickness to fruition as a psychosomatic illness. To me, this is a sort of munchausen in that there is a reach out for the attention he desperately needs, and it is unlike munchausen in that he really is sick.
Two: The sickness is a metaphor for all the negativity and emotional hardships he has dealt with. With these things coming to surface through physical representation, there is finally a chance to heal.

Most of the opinions I have read indicate mental hospital.

Emil (last edited Sep 10, 2012 10:41PM ) Sep 10, 2012 10:41PM   1 vote
The implication, I believe, is that Holden is at a mental hospital, receiving therapy.

Randye When I got to the end I was thinking pneumonia, scarlet fever, polio, tuberculosis just because of the time it was written. But now reading your ideas ...more
Sep 11, 2012 07:41AM · flag

Blaine (last edited Sep 12, 2012 09:08PM ) Sep 12, 2012 09:01PM   0 votes
I think of the book as a degradation of Holden's mental health after the loss of his brother. He becomes more cynical, more manic (the OCD nature of writing off the F--- YOU! from the walls), his fits of wanting to cry, his repeated suggestions to the reader of his brothers death The loneliness factor. I do not agree he is trying to find away to fit in as many critics suggest, but is a story of coping, and how Holden can't quite cope well enough - the loss of his brother was too much. The book (whether intentional or not) seems close to PTSD (regardless if it was known of at the time in it's modern significance...could just be incredibly insightful), so I do think it was a mental hospital.

Ginnie I had thought it to be a case of PTSD as well; I told a friend. However, way to go on pointing out the OCD nature of the F---You! I think that was imp ...more
Sep 13, 2012 05:39PM

I think that it was definitely psychosomatic. When a person is in a bad emotional state, the urge to dwell and wallow in that unhappiness is strong as it feels wrong to want to be happy. His illness is a why of avoiding this happiness which he secretly believes he doesn't deserve to feel. He sees himself as a pathetic figure who can do nothing but fail, therefore he 'deserves' this illness.

just a quick search on google (not in depth or verified specifically) resulted in this finding....

My impression was he was in a mental hospital. I think when i first read it i was Schizoid Personality Disorder.

He's not reliable to indicate he had t.b. -- he lies and exaggerates about everything. The likely interpretation is that he is in a mental facility of some kind.

I have to reread it now.

It was tuberculosis.
"That's how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam check-ups and stuff"

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