Holden Caulfield's Breakdown

Explain the reasons for Holden Caulfield’s breakdown
The main concern in the novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is not only that the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is trapped between childhood and adulthood, but also the alienation and regression caused by grief when Holden does not address the loss of his brother properly. The reader can see that this grief, as well as other factors, contributes to the character’s eventual breakdown.
In post-war America, education was extremely important. People didn’t want to be behind in anything, least of all behind the soviets. Throughout the novel, Holden is presented as someone who does not fit in.   His inability to apply himself to school work forces him into the position of the outsider and as a result, probably contributes to his breakdown. This is particularly evident in the novel, during the conversation between Holden and Mr Spencer, “I’d like to put some sense in that head of yours, boy. I’m trying to help you.” Mr Spencer is aware of how important it is for Holden to graduate and get a job like his Father, who “hauls it in.” Holden however is different in his thinking. He struggles to find the motivation to do well, because he seems to feel that in the grand scheme of things, exams and school just aren’t important. Allie’s death has possibly made him this way. Holden’s lack of interest in his future is cause for concern and perhaps indicates towards his eventual breakdown.
Another reason for Holden’s breakdown could be his lack of real friends in Pencey Prep. As a teenager, Holden needs to be around people his own age. He needs to socialise with people to remain healthy mentally, however he shuts himself off from everyone. For example, when he starts a fight with Stradlater. “I tried to sock him… so it would split his goddam throat open.” Holden alienates almost everyone he comes in to contact with, including Ackley, who he purposely makes fun of by calling him “kid.” Because of Holden’s behaviour he finds it...