Catcher In The Rye Depression

1051 Words5 Pages
One in five teens suffer from depression, and many do not even realize it, because they are to afraid to talk to someone that could help (Everett). It can be hard to determine whether someone has a mental illness, such as depression, or if they just have a unique personality. One such case is Holden Caulfield, the main character from J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. This book has been read by many across the nation, As with all popular books, Salinger’s novel has sparked much debate over a multitude of topics, not the least of which includes the mental stability of the story’s protagonist. For years, people have argued over whether Holden is just a confused teen, or if it is more serious, such as having a mental illness.…show more content…
Those that have depression also have a significantly increased risk of also developing substance abuse. A group of researchers in Oregon randomly selected 1,709 high school students, ages 14 to 18, 274 of whom had already recovered from a single period of of major depression. The students completed three psychiatric interviews over the span of the next six years. By the end of the six years, nearly half of the participants experienced depression at least once. The researchers noticed that there was a larger increase in rates of substance abuse among the students that experienced depression than in those that did not (Bower). Despite being underaged, Holden consumes a large amount of alcohol throughout the story. As previously mentioned, Holden asks several complete strangers to get cocktails with him, and Holden even gets completely drunk after his meeting with Carl Luce. While Holden may not be considered an alcoholic yet, he shows many signs that indicate that he may be on the way to becoming…show more content…
Many claim that Holden is only a confused teen who is going through a transitional period in his life. They claim that many teens do not understand what is happening at that stage in their life. Most teens, however, do not go to the same extremes as Holden does in the story. Holden considers running away to a different state, which is something that most people his age would not even consider. People also use Holden’s grief over his brother’s death to say that Holden does not have a mental illness. They believe that Holden is the way that his is because he is still grieving over the loss of his brother, Allie. While it is completely normal to experience grief after a loved one passes, Holden takes Allie’s death to an unhealthy level, and is still unwilling to accept his death. The final reason people claim Holden only has a unique personality is that he has been kicked out to yet another school. They say that Holden is getting over the shame he must be feeling for failing and getting kicked out of Pencey Prep. Pencey was not the first school that Holden got kicked out of, though. There have been several other schools that kicked Holden out, yet Holden has not learned his lesson and keeps repeating the same mistakes, indicating that this may involve something deeper than just his
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