Holden Caulfield's madness plays a very significant role in J. Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old boy, sees the world in a unique and different view, which encompasses passing judgment to just about everybody in the "phony" world he lives in which conveys his irrational behavior and madness. Holden is the epitome of different, which is seen through his display of his view on human nature and how people act. His main concern in life is seeing people grow up, lose their innocence, and enter the world of "phoniness" which is basically the superficiality that he comes across in the world. Although his attitude and behavior may seem off, many people were able to see a reflection of them in Caulfield during the publication of this novel as the country was in a state of post-war flux. .
Holden Caulfield's eccentric behavior can be seen undoubtedly in the fact that he believes someone would write a derogatory phrase on his tombstone or the fact that he gets infuriated when he sees "fuck you" carved into his little sisters school. He feels that way because he doesn't want these young children to get exposed to the adult world and lose their innocence. This thought isn't processed by normal people which portrays how mad Holden really is in the world he is taking part in. He believes that once you become an adult, you are washed away in a world chock-full of a hypocrisy and contradiction. This madness has been deeply engraved in Caulfield's mind. His thought process really takes a toll on his mental mindset, which is why he ultimately ends up getting psychoanalyzed and put into a sanatorium. Only truly "mad" people get put into these facilities. .
Holden also really cares for his sister, Phoebe Caulfield, who is younger than Holden. Holden is madly obsessive about keeping her innocence and preventing her from experiencing adulthood.