In chapter 24, Holden goes to Mr. Antolini's place to stay for the night. He crashes on the couch, and suddenly is woken up by Mr. Antolini stroking his (Holden's) hair while he sleeps. There are, then, two passages that caught my eye:

I know more damn perverts, at schools and all, than anybody you ever met, and they're always being perverty when I'm around.


When something perverty like that happens, I start sweating like a bastard. That kind of stuff's happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid. I can't stand it.

Now, throughout the whole book, I'd been getting the impression that Holden was a depressed individual — as in, actually clinically depressed, not just that "that kind of stuff makes me depressed" kinda talk he's always having — but was attributing it to his little brother Allie's death.

Then this happens, right near the end of the book, and it seems like it connects a few more things: his apparent depression, why he's sexually awkward (see the scene with the prostitute, and how he describes how "something always happens" when he's about to lose his virginity), why he seems to hate adults a lot more than children and younger folks... and why he wants to protect the children as "the catcher in the rye," as he describes to Phoebe in chapter 22.

Furthermore, Holden seems to actually get physically sick after the interaction with Mr. Antolini, mentioning he passed out, and almost vomited several times when he felt like laughing. This bit would suggest, I believe, a physical reaction to what might be, to some degree, repressed memories of past abuse.

Was Holden in fact molested as a child? Is there any other sort of evidence that I'm overlooking here? Perhaps from the book itself, or an earlier draft, or a note from the author? Or, given the many similarities between the narrative in The Catcher in the Rye and Salinger's early life (see here), is it possible that Salinger himself was molested as a child?

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