Just a Phase or Mental Illness?

In a paragraph answer the following question and give at least one specific example: Is Holden just going through a phase, or do you think he is mentally ill?


My answer to this question would be: neither. I don’t think Holden Caufield is mentally ill. Yes, he is a little far away from what is considered “normal behavior”, I know he doesn’t give a damn about academic stuff, I recall him flirting with a woman in her forties, he almost always has something bad to say about people, he does lie a lot, and yes, he broke all the windows of his garage when his brother died. But all of these situations are either justified, or simply part of the compulsive and rebellious acts that teenagers do. In my opinion, none of those exceeds the boundaries of what is “normal”. Maybe the flirting with the older woman is a little off, but it’s not the first time I hear that teenage boys are interested in mature women.

And I don’t think Holden is just going through a phase either. I don’t think this type of behavior started just because, nor do I believe it’ll simply fade away. I just think that is his natural personality, his original way of thinking, his usual mistakes and flaws. I don’t think and I don’t hope that Holden Caufield is just going through a phase because he is such a unique, imperfect, and mysterious character.


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