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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

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Quote #43

"So I went in this very cheap-looking restaurant and had doughnuts and coffee. Only, I didn't eat the doughnuts. I couldn't swallow them too well. The thing is, if you get very depressed about something, it's hard as hell to swallow." (25.3; 25.7)

If Holden can’t eat doughnuts, he must be really depressed. The question is, at what point (if ever) does depression actually become a form of insanity?

Quote #44

After I came out of the place where the mummies were, I had to go to the bathroom. I sort of had diarrhea, if you want to know the truth. I didn't mind the diarrhea part too much, but something else happened. When I was coming out of the can, right before I got to the door, I sort of passed out. I was lucky, though. I mean I could've killed myself when I hit the floor, but all I did was sort of land on my side. It was a funny thing, though. I felt better after I passed out. I really did. My arm sort of hurt, from where I fell, but I didn't feel so damn dizzy. (25.41)

While we would like to write this off as hangover blues, we're starting to wonder if there isn't something more serious going on here. Did you notice how Salinger built this up, starting with a headache, then sweating, then nausea, and then the passing out?

Quote #45

That's all I'm going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it. I really don't. That stuff doesn't interest me too much right now.

A lot of people, especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have here, keeps asking me if I'm going to apply myself when I go back to school next September. (26.1-2)

Once he’s done telling the longest story about three days ever, Holden brings us back to his own present time. Here’s what we know: he’s in some sort of institution. He "got sick" at some point. And he’s supposed to go back to school. But is he better? Can we tell based on the way he tells his story?

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