J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye depicts Holden Caulfield, a New York City teenager in the 1950’s, as a manic-depressive. Some critics of Salinger’s unique assert that Holden is too whiney and bothersome as a character. What these critics stop working to understand is that Holden’s actions throughout the unique completely exemplify that of a depressed teen. Manic depression, compulsive lying, and immaturity throughout the unique identify Holden. Holden’s depression finds its roots with the death of his brother, Allie.
Holden is expelled from various schools due to his bad academics brought on by his depression.
The manner that Holden sees himself and how he sees others leads him to be expelled from school. According to Michael Martin’s book titled Teenager Depression, “depressed teens can deal with anxiety for month or years. “It is a mental illness which … includes … sensations of worthlessness, despondence, guilt, problems with concentration” (Teenager Depression). Throughout the novel, Holden displays these symptoms rather regularly. In fact, Holden makes his depression clear when he expresses how, “packaging depressed me a little,” (51, Catcher).
Holden reveals these feelings when he packs his bags after being alerted that he is expelled. Holden leaves school and heads for New york city City, where he finds himself to be more lonely and depressed than ever. When alone, Holden regrets that “what I actually seemed like doing was dedicating suicide. I seemed like jumping out of the window.” (104, Catcher). Too ashamed to return home, knowing his mother will be upset and his father will be angry with him, Holden relies on thoughts of suicide. He likewise adds that “I wasn’t feeling drowsy or anything, but I was feeling sort of poor.
Depressed and all, I practically wanted I was dead,” (90, Catcher). Critics tend to explain Holden as being just an angst filled teen, whose point of view of the world around him is distorted. While these critics may view these attributes as irritating, they really serve to supply a psychological depth beginning by Holden’s anxiety. For instance, Negativity and hopelessness is often a sign of depression, so when Holden tells, “I’m quite sure he yelled “Good luck!” at me. I hope not. I wish to hell not. I ‘d never ever scream “Good luck!” at anybody. It sounds terrible, when you consider it. (78, Catcher) Salinger is simply transporting the ideas of a depressed teenager.
Depression is an illness which triggers the victim to enter this downhearted state of mind, so naturally outside observers may be annoyed by Holden’s actions. Nevertheless, this excerpt clearly highlights the deformed state of mind of a depressed teenager. Depressed teenagers tend to believe that their scenario is totally hopeless, and can not potentially be corrected. The utter hopelessness which accompanies depression is not an uncommon phenomenon and is possibly the most uncomfortable element of the illness. Holden’s actions in the book could quickly be attributed to these symptoms.
According to Teen Anxiety, depressed teenagers tend to try to find relief in sex, drugs, or alcoholic abuse. In the brief time frame of the novel, Holden looked for 2 out of the 3 aforementioned products. These actions could be credited to his desire to seek out a short-lived form of relief in his life. Drinking enables Holden to escape from his heavy, pessimistic mentality. While Holden was with the prostitute, he was able to rid himself of his overwhelming isolation. Eric Lomazoff sums up Holden’s situation best when he says that Holden was merely “attempting to reconcile his life, though ultimately loosing that fight” (Lomazoff).
Holden Caulfield is not a bad person, as many critics make him out to be. In truth, Lomazoff goes as far to say that Holden is “a good guy stuck in a bad world”. The main reason that The Catcher in the Rye is so revered is due to the fact that Salinger is able to embody the perspective of a struggling teenager so perfectly. Holden’s anxiety is perhaps the most crucial element of Salinger’s story. It is clear that upon closer evaluation, one would find that Holden is not just a troubled teen, however a scientifically depressed one.