Mental Illness in The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
"The Catcher In The Rye" is written as a repetitive, purely adolescent, rambling stream of consciousness, paying homage to mental illness. The book's infamous controversial past belongs solely in the past, and should not continue to stir criticism over its profanity or questions of sexuality. The homosexual nuances (homosexuality was classified as mental illness during Holden's adolescence) only adds to the the narrator's confusion and enriches the depths of his isolation, while the profanity seeks to emphasize Holden's anger at the world.
The troubled, emotionally damaged protagonist being a privileged child of a relatively wealthy New York City family nullifies most empathy the book is intended to conjure. In the shortest possibly summary of "The Catcher in The Rye", Holden Caufield complains about everything possible, within the span of 214 pages of pure, attention-seeking and disillusioned depression.
J.D. Salinger's pursuits to convey a sense of apathetic innocence and universal identification felt off-putting at times. However, despite the narrator's dislikable perspective, his plea to humanity is worth the read. J.D. Salinger didn't write "The Catcher In The Rye" for its readers to fall in love with a beautiful plot line or tear-worthy character development, but rather to read it in a more introspective way to reflect on one's self and society as a whole.