The Catcher in the Rye is a polarizing book–people either loved it or hated it, either thought Holden Caulfield was a genius or a crybaby.
I was one in the group who loved it. I felt like I was reading a transcript of my thoughts.
It has been a few years since my last re-reading, but Holden’s misanthropic musings seemed to describe things pretty well for little ol’ pessimistic me. While this isn’t so much about being an introvert, I do think the two connect.
Ignorance is bliss, and it’s a flaw in introverts to perceive many extroverts as ignorant. Because extroverts would rather small talk than have deep conversations (as with all my posts, these are broad generalizations) introverts often see them as shallow.
In cities like New York, where TCITR takes place, people are rushing, and rushing people don’t have time to think deeply. It’s not a bad thing. Even introverts find themselves pushing people to get in doors, getting frustrated at slow cars, etc. From an onlooker’s point of view, cities are a dismal place.
In my English class when we read this, a popular idea was that he was going crazy. Going crazy…I didn’t get that at all. When my teacher revealed that he was supposed to be in a mental hospital the whole time, it confused me. Sure, I got that he was depressed, but surely not crazy. But that was the phrase they kept throwing around…going crazy.
It’s hard not to go crazy if you think deeply about everything you see. If we thought deeply about all the bad things going on in the world, none of us would leave our bedsheets.