The big question in The Catcher in the Rye is whether or not the central character is crazy. The story begins with a seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield telling his own story of a year earlier, with mentions of his having come "out here" to "rest up." What is normal adolescent behavior, and what is psychotic? This novel explores that very question, but the conclusion is left up to the reader.
While Holden can be considered crazy during his time in New York city, the presentation of his narrative suggests that by the time he's telling us the story, he's sane.
"Madness" is an irrelevant term in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden presents a world so absurd that his actions are neither crazy nor sane – they simply are.