What are 3 quotes from The Catcher in the Rye that suggest Holden has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One would be:

What I was really hanging around for, I was trying ... to feel some kind of good-by. I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. If you don't, you feel even worse. (1.8)

In here he is trying to make a connection with others, but his PTSD makes him fear making connections, and leads him to describe his feeling as "hatred" when in fact it is fear.

Another good one is:

Then I went over and laid down on Ely's bed. ... Boy, did I feel rotten. I felt so damn lonesome. (7.29)

On this one this is the pinnacle of his isolation, in which he even felt it best to be with company, albeit one which annoys him, than to be lonely at all- despite of his claims to want to be alone.

Finally, just to show the level of negativity and morbidity that comes as a result of having ptsd, here is Holden at his best:

There was this magazine that somebody'd left on the bench ... next to me, so I started reading it. […] It was all about hormones. It described how you should look. […] I looked exactly like the guy with lousy hormones. So I started getting worried about my hormones. Then I read this other article about how you can tell if you have cancer or not. It said if you had any sores in your mouth that didn't heal pretty quickly, it was a sign that you probably had cancer. I'd had this sort on the inside of my lip for about two weeks. So figured [sic] I was getting cancer. That magazine was some little cheerer upper.

Showing how he holds so tightly to the negative to counteract his fear of loving again, as a result of the death of his sibling.

wordist | Student

(Symptoms of PTSD: depression, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, weeping, negativity, self-isolation, attention deficit and trouble concentrating, exaggerated startle response, untrollable anger, recurrent invasive recollections of stressor events)

The books is full of examples; so naming three is easy.

First, there are two stressor events: Allie's death and the death of a classmate, Jame Castle, who leaped out a dorm window wearing the sweater Holden had loaned him.

Allie's death:

I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don't blame them. I really don't. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. I even tried to break all the windows on the station wagon we had that sumemr, but my hand was already broken and everything by that time...

Jame's Castle's death:

So Stabile, with about six other dirty bastards, went down to James Castle's room and went in and locked the goddam door and tried to make him take back what he said but he wouldn't do it. So they started in on him. I won't even tell you what they did to him--it too reulsive--but he still wuldn't tke it back, old James Castle. ...a skinny little weak-looking guy, with wrists about as big as pencils. ...Finally, what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window. I was in the shower and all, and even I could hear hm land outside. ...I ran downstairs too, and there was old James Castle, laying right on the stone steps and all. He was dead, and his teeth, and blood, were all over the place, and nobody would even go near him."

On page three there's an example of attention deficit, when Holden leaves the equipment for the fencing team on the subway, resuliting in forfeiture of the match.

I was the goddam manager for the fencing team. Very big deal. We'd gone in to New York that morning for this fencing meet with McBurney School. Only, we didn't have the meet. I left all the foils and equipemnt and stuff on the goddam subway. It wasn't all my falult. I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we'd know where to get otff. ...The whole team ostracized me teh whole way back ton the train.

In Chapter 6 there's an example of weeping: 

"I just lay theere on the floor for a while, and kept calling him a moron sonuvabitch. I was so mad, I was practicaly bawling."

Also Chapter 6, Holden becomes enraged over the prospect of Stradlater "giving the time" to Jane:

Give her the time in Ed Banky's goddam car?" My voice was shaking something awful.

"What a thing to say. Want me to wash your mouth out with soap?"

"Did you?"

"That's a professional secret, buddy."

This next part I don't remember so hot. All I know is I got up from the 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 goddam throat open. Only, I missed. ...Anyway, the next thing I knew I was on the godam floor and he was sitting on my chest,...


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The Catcher in the Rye

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