Holden suffered from a form of sexual abuse, a brother's death, and a loss of innocence. This led...

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Holden suffered from a form of sexual abuse, a brother's death, and a loss of innocence. This led him to doubt his feelings and moods, and it drove him to want to preserve other children's childhood and innocence, since he lost his so quickly. by Mind Map: Holden suffered from a form of sexual abuse, a brother's death, and a loss of innocence. This led him to doubt his feelings and moods, and it drove him to want to preserve other children's childhood and innocence, since he lost his so quickly.

1. Childhood Events

1.1. Sexual Abuse

1.1.1. Holden indication the sexual abuse when he visited his previous teacher, Mr. Antolini, in New York. He was sleeping on his couch and was abruptly woken up when he felt a hand patting his head. "Then something happened. I don't even like to talk about it. I woke up all of a sudden... I felt something on my head, some guy's hand. Boy, it really scared the hell out of me. What it was, it was Mr. Antolini's hand... and he as petting me or patting me on the goddam head... When something perverty like that happens, I start sweating like a bastard. That kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid. I can't stand it." (191-193)

1.2. Allie's Death

1.2.1. The night of Allie's death was the night when Holden went into the garage and broke all of the windows with his fists. "I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all of the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all of the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it." (39)

1.2.2. Every time Holden told us about Allie, he was always going on and on about how nice and intelligent he was. He especially went on about his baseball glove with the quotes.

1.2.3. Allie died of leukemia when he was eleven, and Holden was thirteen.

1.2.4. Allie's death isn't the only death that Holden had to be put through. Although not as significant, it still happened. Holden saw James Castle jump out of a window to his death. It may have not been in a similar fashion as Allie's death, but it still had reminded him of it. "Old James Castle...he jumped out the window. He was dead, and his teeth, and his blood were all over the place, and nobody would even go near him...All they did with the guys that were in the room with him was expel them. They didn't even go to jail." (170)

1.3. Jane Gallagher

1.3.1. Throughout the whole book, Jane is mentioned quite a lot. she knows about how Holden was when he was a kid, because she was his neighbor. At the beginning when she is first mentioned, Holden starts talking about calling her up. He thinks about it a lot until the end, and has only tried once, but she didn't pick up. I think that because Holden always hesitated to call her, that he doesn't want to revisit his childhood memories. "All of a sudden, on my way out to the lobby, I got old Jane Gallagher on the brain again." (76)

1.4. Grey Hair

1.4.1. Holden says that he has a billion little grey hairs on the side of his head. Usually, at such an age, that means that he has dealt with extreme amounts of stress. he never elaborated what it was, though. “The one side of my head—the right side—is full of millions of gray hairs. I’ve had them ever since I was a kid.” (9)

2. Mental Illness Events

2.1. Near the end of the novel Holden brings the readers back to present tense, and he gives us hints as to where he is. He, of course, doesn't make it obvious, but the meaning is still there. With the hints he gives, it makes the readers think that he's in a psychiatric hospital, with different wings.

2.1.1. "... and how I got sick and all. ... this one psychoanalyst guy they have here... anyway, one time she went to the ladies' room way the hell down the other wing." (213)

2.2. The very first sentence of the novel gives us Holden's exact personality, and where he could possibly be. He let it slip that he is somewhere where people go when they get "mad", so it leads the readers to think he goes to Psychiatric hospital, or something of the sort.

2.2.1. “I’m not going to tell you my whole goddamn autobiography or anything. I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.” (1)

3. Thoughts of Leaving

3.1. Run Away

3.1.1. With the last few chapters of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden attempts to leave behind Phoebe and his family by running away to the west. He ends up not going though, as Phoebe wanted to go with him. He ended up staying so he could protect her childhood and innocence. "I was almost all set to hit her. I thought I was going to smack her for a second. I really did...I wanted her to cry till her eyes were practically dropped out. I almost hated her." (207)

3.1.2. Even at the beginning of the novel, Holden runs away from facing his parents and goes to New York until he is forced to go home. However, before he left, he was hanging around crying and getting into fights. Maybe that was his way of getting acknowledged of leaving. “What I was really hanging around for, I was trying ... to feel some kind of good-by.” (4)

3.2. Suicide

3.2.1. Holden Caulfield witnessed a suicide, and he just stared at the poor guy and didn't do anything. It probably didn't go to an extent with him thinking about suicide, but he still thought of going away, and never specified until the end of the novel.

4. Protecting Innocence

4.1. Every Child

4.1.1. While Holden was at Phoebe's school, he saw a bunch of swear words on the wall. He rubbed off one, but he kept finding more and more. He wanted to rub it off because the moment a child finds out what it actually means, the child loses some innocence. “Somebody’d written f*** you on the wall.”

4.1.2. This is also where the title comes in, because he wants to protect children's innocence and childhood so badly, he'd stay behind with them and protect them at all costs. He wants to make sure that as they keep getting older and older, that if they do something intentional, he could do something to save them. "Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running ans they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd be the catcher in the rye and all." (173)

4.2. Phoebe

4.2.1. Whenever Holden is near a child, he always gets happy and overly excited. He wants to protect each individual child, so he sacrifices things of himself so he can do it.

5. Links

5.1. Crash Course

5.1.1. Part One

5.1.2. Part Two