In the Catcher in the Rye, why should Holden be institutionalized?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that if one were to mount a case for Holden being institutionalized, it would have to start with the fact that Holden is mentally exhausted and not in the best frames of mind.  In looking at chapter 25, we see Holden as being mentally driven to the edges of his own psyche in assessing and reassessing situations.  He is not eating well nor is he physically feeling well, passing out in the museum and being sick, overall.  There is a sense that he is free falling into an abyss where he is unable to control what he is feeling and experiencing.  One could make the argument that institutionalization is needed for him to feel as if he can gain some level of control over his life.  A further argument could be advanced that Holden is in need of psychological remedy, but in going to this point, one almost discounts much of his own perceptions and understandings.  I am not willing to go there, as I think that it moves into the realm of Holden being "different." Institutionalization is not the answer for those who are simply "different."  Yet, I think that a case could be plausibly made for him being institutionalization because of the mental exhausted condition we see him at the end of the novel.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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