Causes Of Depression In Catcher In The Rye

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A common psychiatric mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest is depression. Being highly debilitating, depression can affect how an individual emotionally thinks, feels, and handles daily activities. One of the most controversial and highly criticized books in literature is J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, centering on the protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is alienated from society, facing mental trauma, and has reckless behavior all which makes him become depressed.
Holden Caulfield has been emotionally affected when his brother, Allie Caulfield, passed away due to leukemia. Mr. Antolini, Holden’s teacher, tries to guide Holden into a direction where it is
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“When people arrive on the embankment of depression, the shores are dark, the sky is gray, and the setting sunset on the horizon brings nothing but seasickness“(Olsen). Being uninterested in his surroundings, Holden feels isolated and trapped when trying to find his way in the world in which he feels like he has no place in. With no conflict occurring, Holden likes the world to be silent and frozen. This is depicted when Holden visits the Museum of Natural History and he describes how the showcase exhibits a trapped life. “Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deer’s would still be drinking out of that water hole... Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you”(Salinger 65). However, the real world is continuously changing and unpredictable which is what Holden fears because it makes him question his self-esteem and future. Holden uses his alienation as a way to protect himself from society. For example, Holden runs away from his school, Pencey Prep, before being expelled to protect his individuality from phonies that he does not like and that made him upset. “I just didn't want to hang around anymore. It made me too sad and lonesome” (Salinger 28). Throughout The Catcher in the Rye, it is obvious that Holden always escapes from anything that makes him uncomfortable. Another example is when Holden…show more content…
It is evident that Holden faces depression when he has a lack in interest in school and decides to leave Pencey Prep before being expelled. He thinks the students attending Pencey Prep are phonies, making Holden dislike his school even more. This is evident when he tells his sister Phoebe “It was one of the worst schools I ever went to. It was full of phonies. And mean guys.” (Salinger 90). When Holden left Pencey Prep, shouting “Sleep tight, ya morons” (Salinger 29), he starts to cry which suggests that he is disappointed in himself because he also became a phony. His phoniness surfaces when he constantly lies “even during the most ordinary conversations the boy has, he lies about either his age, or something about his family or even when he is trying to please people around him” (Pinto 12) which is another example of a reckless behavior Holden demonstrates. Holden lies to Ernest Morrow’s mother by stating that he sick: “It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain” (Salinger 32). Not only does Holden leaves Pencey Prep and constantly deceives individuals, he also has expressed frustration and anger when Allie passed away. “I broke all the windows in the garage...I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it. It was a very stupid
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