Catcher In The Rye Depression Essays

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

Depression, a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. This mental illness demonstrates to affect teens as much as it affects adults. Studies show that 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood. When you deal with depression, you often find it difficult to live an everyday normal life. The “Catcher in the Rye” written by J.D Salinger, narrates on the main character Holden Caulfield, a hostile and negative person, who suffers from severe depression.

Teenage years are, without argument, the most confusing and difficult years of a person’s life as they prepare to go into adulthood. A wave of anxiety filled teenage year’s leads to an anxiety filled adulthood, following with a variety of prescription drugs and therapy sessions along with way. Throughout the “Catcher in the Rye” novel, Holden shows several signs of depression in various areas of his life such as lying, thoughts of suicide and the constant repetition of the word “depressing” in its self. Lying usually becomes second nature to those who suffer from depression as they feel the need to shield themselves away from the world. Holden assumes to lie to just about any adult he encounters so he can obscure insecurities and shelter his lack of inspiration in life. Holden is “the most terrific liar you ever saw,” (16) when it came to people wanting to assist him in finding his way in life. His frequent used technique was to shove people away by telling them “don’t worry about me…I’ll be all right, I’m just going through a phase” (18) when in reality Holden is screaming, hoping someone will save him from himself. Along with lying come suicidal thoughts generated by Holden. When teens who suffer from depression start thinking about suicide it is a result of them trying to escape from a situation that appears impossible to deal with. Teenagers such as Holden who have thought of suicide do not desire to die but they want to escape from the problems in their life that at that particular moment the impression of dying was the only way out. Holden often lies to himself to ease the emptiness and guilt he is living with that even Holden himself tells us that he “really felt like, committing suicide” (104). Even if we did not have the evidence that Holden was depressed through his actions of lying and having suicidal thoughts we still have the profound statement of all. What other way to prove that Holden Caulfield is depressed then Holden himself announcing that life itself “makes (him) so depressed” (75). Every single page of the novel is gorged with Holden telling us he is depressed. Whether it was Holden remembering someone say please and Holden commenting “that’s depressing” (211) or Holden warning us to never sleep in Grand Central, because “it’ll depress you,” (194) it is obvious that Holden is suffering...

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Holden's Depression in Catcher in the Rye Essay

754 Words4 Pages

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, portrays Holden Caulfield as a manic-depressive. Holden uses three techniques throughout the novel to cope with his depression. He smokes, drinks, and talks to Allie. Although they may not be positive, Holden finds comfort in these three things. Holden smokes a lot when he is nervous, or bored. When the stripper is in his room he noticed that she is shaking her foot as if she is nervous. He offers her a cigarette, twice. Both times she says no. Holden offers Sunny the cigarette because he thinks it would calm her down, like cigarettes calm him down when he is nervous. “I sat in the chair for a while and smoked a couple of cigarettes…boy, I felt miserable” (98). The smoking habit may have come…show more content…

Instead of dealing with his problems Holden drank. This negatively affects him. Instead of getting help with his emotions he would drink them away so he would feel less. Drinking is seen persistently throughout the novel. Some may think that Holden has a severe drinking problem, which he does. A majority of his money is spent on alcohol at the bars he goes to. Holden is a minor and it is illegal for him to drink (57). Holden feels as if he is older when he drinks and likes the feeling because he does not want to be seen as one of the “phony” guys that he often speaks about throughout the novel. One night he gets so drunk he just does not know what is going on. It feels good for him. It is often mentioned that Holden drank when he had nothing else to do. He would stay out late because he wasn’t tired and had nothing else to do, and he was lonely. Holden feels a need to be drunk whenever he is around the “jerky preps” (85). He says “I can’t sit in a corny place like this cold sober” (70). He feels as if they are phony and he is unlike them. He often feels like getting out of the bars, but doesn’t because he doesn’t want to leave to become lonely. “I felt like getting out of the place. It was too depressing” (80).
Holden mentions Allie in the book quite often when he is feeling down. Allie was everything that Holden’s not. “He was terrifically intelligent.” His teachers were always writing letters to my mother , telling her what a pleasure it was to have a

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