Depression In The Catcher In The Rye By J. D. Salinger

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Depression: A State of Mind Phony: “not real or genuine; fake; counterfeit” (Dictionary.com). This one word is Holden Caulfield’s favorite word. Holden Caulfield is the protagonist and narrator of the novel The Catcher in The Rye, written by J.D. Salinger. Holden is a lonely seventeen-year old who has been expelled from the prestigious, all boy academy, Pencey Prep. He is a very judgemental and hypocritical person to the surrounding world, and tries to protect his innocence as a child to keep himself from entering the adult world. Holden tells his story through a flashback, from inside what is believed to be a mental hospital or sanitarium in Southern California. He displays the symptoms for the mental disorder depression, resulting from …show more content…
When Holden was at the mere age of thirteen, his younger brother, Allie, died from leukemia. The death of his little brother took a major toll on Holden. After this calamitous tragedy Holden 's life was never the same. One of the main causes for depression includes “external stressors and significant life changes… death of a loved one” (“Depression and Depressive Disorders”), thus proving that Allie’s death could be a root reason as to why Holden is suffering from depression. Holden is unable to express the feeling of loss that he possesses to anyone, which inhibits him in the sense that he can not articulate his feelings, but only communicate them through his writings. He especially displays this style of expression when he writes a descriptive composition for Stradlater, his roommate in Pencey Prep, about Allie’s old left handed baseball glove which was covered in green inked poems. This writing is the only time the Holden can address the feelings that he has kept pent up inside him for the many years following Allie’s death. Also, at one of the previous schools that Holden attended, he witnessed the suicide of James Castle, who was wearing Holden’s sweater. The fact that James had on Holden’s sweater implied that both Holden and James had a cordial connection, even though they were not very close with one another. This could have increased the severity of the depression that Holden already possessed. Holden is exposed to more deaths than a normal teen would be subject to, at the young age of seventeen. The fact that he seems to be surrounded by death further escalates the sadness within him. In addition, Holden’s trouble in school heightens his depression. Since Holden has previously been kicked out of many academies and is now being asked to leave Pencey Prep, his school life is causing him a lot of trouble. This can lead to a cause of depression since “other situations are linked with

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