Holden Caulfield and Antisocial Personality Disorder

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Inability to Apply Himself to the Environment
  • Struggling to Control Himself
  • Not Caring about the Consequences
  • Conclusion


Holden Caulfield is a youthful adolescent boy who appears to be detached from others around him as apparent in the novel. Holden is enduring from an introverted identity clutter called antisocial personality disorder which causes him to control, misuse, and abuse the right of others. Throughout the novel Holden struggles to be an ordinary young kid which result in him confronting numerous battles and deterrents. Holden sees the world as a fiendish and degenerate place where there is no peace. It shows up as Holden feels confined from everybody around the world. The more exposure Holden captures from the world the clearer it gets to be that he endures from a disorder.

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The Inability to Apply Himself to the Environment

Throughout the novel, "Catcher in the Rye", Holden appears to symbolize failure. In the beginning of the novel the audience is told that Holden Caulfield has been kicked out of Pencey private school. In the novel, it states, "He knew I wasn't coming back to Pencey. I forgot to tell you about that. They kicked me out." Pg. 4 Paragraph 1. Holden was kicked out of school in result of failing courses. He was unreliable and struggled to commit to school which is an illustration of the introverted identity clutter; antisocial social personality disorder. Holden was removed from two other schools prior to Pencey. Holden Caulfield did not like encompassing his self around imposter people which played a part in why he could not commit to any of these schools. If you are incapable of being social and applying yourself to your environment you have an issue.

Struggling to Control Himself

Furthermore, Holden Caulfield endured from hostility and viciousness causing him to come across numerous physical altercations. Holden got into a physical battle with a kid named Stradlater. In the novel, it states, "All I know is I got up from bed, like I was going down to the can or something, and then I tried to sock him, with all my might, right smack in the toothbrush, so it would split his goddamn throat open." Pg. 43 Paragraph 8. Holden was irate that Stradlater would not provide subtle elements about his date with Jane, a young lady he respected. His identity clutter activated him to hit Stradlater. Holden struggles to control his outrage which is a characteristic in which vexed individuals appear to battle with. Holden Caulfield cannot keep calm and talk out his issues. His solution to his issues is through savagery and brutality.

Not Caring about the Consequences

Holden Caulfield is a clear illustration of a person who cannot distain for authority rules and social conventions. All through the novel, it appears as Holden cares for no rules or guidelines set by society. In the novel, it states, "You weren't allowed to smoke in the dorm, but you could do it late at night when everybody was asleep or out and nobody could smell the smoke. Besides, I did it to annoy Stradlater. It drove him crazy when you broke any rules. He never smoked in the dorm. It was only me." Pg. 41 Paragraph 8. People who are careless will do things that they know aren't supposed to be done. This is because they do not care about consequences. Holden did not care that smoking a cigarette in his dorm would affect other people. His concern was with himself and his satisfaction. This is another illustration of Holden Caulfield's introverted identity clutter, antisocial personality disorder.


Holden struggles to fit into society because his disorder takes over him which does not make it easy for him to live an ordinary life. Antisocial personality disorder has taken a toll upon his life.

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