Holden Caulfield and Depression
Depression can be caused by many different triggers including loss or death, which is identified in “Catcher in the Rye,” a novel written by J. D Salinger. The protagonist; Holden Caulfield becomes seriously depressed to the point where he cannot deal with people and every day life around him. The author describes Holden as a person that does not care about where he goes with his life, but the one thing that gets in his way is depression, which causes him to be stressed and have a lot of issues.
Plot/conflict, and character analysis are two literary elements to support this. J. D Salinger describes Holden as mentally unstable, lonely, and depressed. An example of his loneliness and depression is when Sunny the prostitute leaves Holden alone in his hotel room after she finds out he doesn’t want to have sex with her, and he says: “I felt so depressed, you can’t even imagine. What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud to Allie” (Salinger, 98).
Allie his younger brother’s traumatic death was the cause of Holden’s depression, especially since he had a close relationship with him. This quote shows what Holden’s character is like, because as soon as he is alone, he thinks about his dead brother and it conjures up uncontrolled emotions for him. Another example of his depressive behavior is when Holden says: “Even all the whory-looking blondes weren’t around anymore, and all of a sudden I felt like getting the hell out of the place.
It was too depressing,” it shows when he is alone he makes excuses such as the place being a crumby hotel and how that depressed him, when in reality being alone was the root of his depression because he had no one to talk to (80). This whole novel shows how Holden has to face his problems with depression and coping with loss or death. He has to deal with his older brother D. B living in Hollywood and Allie being dead. The plot is when Holden leaves Pencey Prep and is alone in New York, because he does not want to go back home to face his parents and tell them he got kicked out of another school.
The conflict is within Holden’s emotions; will he be able to make it another day with depression? Every other page describes how Holden’s depression erupts, for example, “ The more I thought about my gloves and my yellowness, the more depressed I got,” which describes him as a person who seems to become distressed with a simple thought from the past by an emotional connection. In conclusion, character analysis and plot/conflict strongly identifies why Holden’s depression is the common theme, which causes the conflict within this novel.
By the end Holden’s depression culminates in his admission to a mental institution for a psychological breakdown. Although various types of depression can make an individual become emotionally paralyzed when they make mental connections to painful experiences, such as Holden’s brother dying, getting treatment is the first step in feeling better. For Holden it is clear that he could be treated and even go back to school in the fall.