Is Holden Caulfield Normal?


Normal, one would think, could be defined as being the same as everyone else. If
we look at the world however, there is no normal; no one is exactly the same or does
exactly the same thing. Some people think they are normal because they have the same
clothes and act the same as others, but when the reader takes a closer look, that’s not the only thing to them. They still retain their individualities and the traits that make them who they are. Normal, If you really think about it is being an individual, but still being able to adapt well enough to make it in any environment. Holden Caulfield very normal is some ways but in most ways he is not. When the reader looks closer he/she realizes Holden couldn’t make it in most places. He has many problems that he doesn’t know how to deal with. These are some of his biggest problems that show that he can’t make it in the world.

Depression is a major issue that Holden hasn’t learned to deal with yet. The reader notices this when he/she see how hard it was for him to deal with his little brother, Allies death (P.38-39). You can tell he loved his little brother, he just doesn’t know how to express his grief. He tries to express it by breaking all the windows in his garage, but only succeeds in hurting his hand, not killing the pain of his brother’s death. Holden gets depressed for the strangest reasons, even when someone laughs out loud (p.81). Holden gets depressed to easy over the littlest things that people say or do. He even gets depressed at the times when he is trying top have fun leading the reader to believe that he is a manic depressive. Holden is in a good mood sometimes, like when he’s talking to his little sister in her room at his house, but not that often (p.161). Holden enjoys doing things with his sister but things usually mess it up putting him in an even worse mood. He enjoys going to clubs and drinking, but even that usually ends up depressing him. Holden is a depressed boy that is struggling with life, but there are still a few times when he lets his guard down and enjoys himself.

Holden drinks way to much alcohol, which, the reader may think, is his way of escaping his problems, but instead of taking his mind off of his problems it just intensifies the pain of everyday life (p.69). The first night Holden left school he went out drinking which made him even more depressed than usual. He was going out to have a good time and forget his problems, but after a little while he got even more depressed then he was in the first place. One time he went out to have a drink with an old friend (Luce) but instead of just having a drink he stays and gets drunk (p.142-150). He got there early just to have an excuse to get a few extra drinks in. Then even after Luce left he stayed and had many more drinks, making a phone call that probably destroyed a relationship, getting completely plastered. Holden even got so drunk one time that he spent hours looking for a place in Central Park that he had been to many times before (p.154). He was stumbling around like a fool and broke the record that he had bought his sister earlier that day. He was already really depressed and the fact that he broke the record only made it worse. Holden really needs to slow down on his drinking because as the reader reads this book he/she realizes that Holden’s drinking only makes his depression worse.

Holden thinks very low of people who are “phony” which to him, is acting one way and really being another. Holden thinks that a piano player named Ernie is phony when he takes a well-deserved bow after playing an exceptionally hard piece (p.84). All Ernie was doing was getting some credit. Holden should give him a little slack because if he were in Ernie’s place he would do the same thing. One time Lillian Simmons comes up to Holden in