Free Essays - Depression in The Catcher in the Rye

Free Essays - Depression in The Catcher in the Rye

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Depression in The Catcher in the Rye




The Catcher in the Rye by, J.D. Salinger is told through Holden the narrative in the story.  The setting of the novel takes place in the 1940's early 1950's.  Holden is sixteen years old and he has a lot of problems in his life.  He becomes seriously depressed to the point he cannot deal with people and life around him. The 1940's were different from today.  However, Holden Caulfield is similar to many other teenagers who go through the same problems. 



    The 1940's were a time of nationalism.  Men had to have an appearance of a tough attitude.  They were never allowed to let their real feelings show. One of the major reasons Holden becomes depressed is the death of his brother Allie.  He described is brother as being nothing but perfect.  He keeps this guilt locked up inside him because he blames his death on himself.  A memory that haunts him is when he excluded his brother from a b-b gun game.  Another memory that he held on to and was never able to forgive himself for was when Allie asked Holden to go bike riding and he didn't go.  Holden did not have a good relationship with his Mother or Father.  He needed them the most right after the death of Allie.  However, we see Holden crying out help and attention when he threw a baseball through the window and broke it and still nobody talked to him.  His older brother went off to Hollywood. The only one he adores is his younger sister Phoebe. He is able to talk to her and he thought she understood him.


He could not deal with reality.  He quoted "I am the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life." He couldn't face people not even himself.  He drank to make himself feel better but it just made him angrier.  Many adolecesents go through the same problems as Holden does.  They have no one to turn to.  So they dig deeper into this hole and can't face life. However, no matter what, losing a loved one is probably the most painful loss a person can face.

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  People need to be able to let themselves get their emotions out, not keep it all in because eventually you'll burst. He needed to talk to someone so badly and he didn't and it made him go crazy.



    Depression is a major concern today.  It's not always obvious when someone is depressed.  Everyone handles depression differently. Holden was a liar this is how he hid his depression. Holden did not have a good relationship with his parents and, therefore, could not sort out his feelings.  By not sharing your feelings could make the depression worse. Today, Teenagers are depressed for many of the same reasons as Holden. Losing a loved one, drugs, alcohol or peer pressure are a few examples of why teenagers become depressed. But we now have rehab centers and psychologists to talk to. Also, our parents are more liberal today and could be more supportive.  Holden did not have as many options as we do and that is why his depression got so out of control.


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