Examples Of Holden Being Depressed In Catcher In The Rye (2023)

728 Words3 Pages

Boy gone crazy or depressed?Holden is in a deep depression but, does he stay depressed or go crazy? After Holden’s brother (Allie) dies he gets very depressed. Holden wasn 't even able to attend the funeral. He talks to his brother as if he 's there searching for help from him. This novel is about him moving through New York and witnessing this and not wanting to be a part of it, yet knowing he has to fit in there somewhere. Holden grows a very dangerous drinking problem. In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, Holden is a lost and depressed boy looking for a purpose in life. Holden believes that growing up is going to cause him to lose all innocence in himself. Flunking out of school causes you to be depressed and…show more content…
Holden begins trying to be older than he actually is, still scared to lose innocence he grasps so hard to be a different person. He is a teenage boy in a grown up’s world. Trying to be an adult isn 't as easy as it seems and Holden is starting to learn that. “She had a terrifically nice smile. She really did. Most people have hardly any smile at all, or a lousy one. ‘Ernest 's father and I sometimes worry about him,’ [...] ‘Well. He 's a very sensitive boy. He 's really never been a terribly good mixer with other boys. Perhaps he takes things a little more seriously than he should at his age." (Salinger 23) This shows that Mrs Morrow is allowing herself to be deceived. She 's letting herself think Holden is a soft and sensitive person and it shows that Holden is putting on a…show more content…
It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn 't even think. That 's the whole trouble. When you 're feeling very depressed, you can 't even think. […] I looked at the red thing with my number on it, on my key. "Twelve twenty-two," I said. I was already sort of sorry I 'd let the thing start rolling, but it was too late now” (Salinger 19). This quote goes to show that Holden is trying to be a different person. He normally would accept a night with an escort but as stated in the quote he was so depressed he couldn 't even think about his decisions. A later quote shows that he doesn 't even use his real name he uses the name “Jim Steele”. Showing that his own real life isn 't


  • Catcher In The Rye Grief Analysis

    656 Words |3 Pages

    Throughout the book, Holden is struggling to get by. The death of his brother Allie has left him in a tough spot. Holden doesn’t exactly know how to deal with this. The different stages of grief are represented through Holden. Holden shows denial and anger when he flashbacks to one of his memories after his brother’s death. Holden recalls the time he spent the night in his 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 very stupid I have to admit, but I hardly didn’t even know I was doing it, and you didn’t know Allie (Salinger, 39).” His denial is represented when he does not admit why he did what he did to the garage. Holden

    Read More

  • Holden Caulfield Lies In Catcher In The Rye

    1378 Words |6 Pages

    Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual”. In the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield’s lies become habitual throughout the book. Holden is a sixteen-year-old boy, who has been kicked out of several schools including, most recently, Pencey Prep. Holden’s younger brother, Allie, died when Holden was only thirteen and his older brother is too busy working for Hollywood to care about Holden. Although his mother cares immensely for him, Holden saddens her by failing academically. The only motivator that Holden has to continue living is his younger sister, Phoebe, who is extraordinarily intelligent for her age. After he gets kicked out of Pencey, Holden is lost in life. He speaks to many people, seeking advice and comfort, but they are not able to help him find a human connection. Holden’s depression increases throughout the novel, almost to the point of suicide. He criticizes many people and ideas, labeling them as ‘phony’. Holden lies as a result of his depression, in order to hide the fact that he’s lonely and bored with his life, to divert any questions which he believes are too personal, and to create his own reality. In this way, Salinger illustrates how, during difficult times, people resort to lying as a coping mechanism.

    (Video) Catcher in the Rye (Holden & Depression)

    Read More

  • Bipolar Disorder In Catcher In The Rye

    1238 Words |5 Pages

    He shows signs of depression, PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, and the beginning stages of anxiety and anger issues. From the beginning of the book, one can see that he different than other characters who have similar characteristics. He is “in that unhappy phase of life, that transitional stage, where he has outgrown the relatively well-ordered world of his childhood and must find his way in the world of adults” (Bungert). This is important considering that many people get diagnosed with mental illnesses when they are in their teenage years. His struggles for getting out of childhood is a stressor for his mind. At the end of the novel, when Holden is finished telling his story, he says that he could probably tell us about how he got sick. He also acknowledges “the one psychoanalyst guy they have [there]” who asks if he is going to start applying himself (234). The fact that there is someone analyzing his behavior is a clear indicator that he shows signs of mental illnesses. Holden dodges any questions about his feelings of what happened to him because he does not know how to feel. The psychoanalyst also asks Holden if he is going to start applying himself in school more, but Holden does not fully answer the question. Not being able to apply oneself and losing interest are both signs of mental illnesses. These could lead to a person eventually dropping of out school, which is what Holden essentially does after getting kicked out and making his plan to move

    Read More

  • Stubbornness In Catcher In The Rye

    1493 Words |6 Pages

    In the novel The Catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger writes about a teenager struggling to find his place within the existence of the reality of others. Salinger creates shocking events that lay out the foundation of the the main character Holden Caulfield’s life in the novel. Salinger uses Holden’s characteristics throughout the novel such as Holden’s stubbornness to establish a much bigger theme in the book along with many other symbols.

    Read More

  • The Catcher In The Rye Depression Analysis

    623 Words |3 Pages

    Nobody would have wanted to read the struggles of Holden all the time, throughout the entire book. Holden would not have been discovered as a main character. Not very many people would have wanted to read such a depressing book all the time. “What I really felt like was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would’ve done it, too, if I’d been sure someone would cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory”(Salinger 116). This quote is a prime example of when Holden is depressed and Salinger made it kind of humorous. With the “I don’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory,”(Salinger 116) as his part of the humor. But it made Holden reevaluate the situation and not actually commit suicide. This just adds to the fact that Salinger humor made the book not so

    Read More

    (Video) Catcher in The Rye- Holden's Depression Skit (3rd Period- Marquez) Talor Williams
  • Examples Of Change In Catcher In The Rye

    1022 Words |5 Pages

    As one grows up they may experience dramatic changes in their life that they wish had never occurred. In The Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D Salinger, the main Character Holden Caulfield, goes through loss as his life begins to change right in front of him. His brother Allie who Holden was very close with, passes away, and his family and friends are all moving forward with their lives. Meanwhile, Holden is still stuck in the past. The change that is occuring in his life is affecting his current emotions and his ability to move forward. When forced with abrupt, unforeseen change, people desire to hold onto the familiar.

    Read More

  • How Does Holden Caulfield Change Throughout The Novel

    693 Words |3 Pages

    Holden is a very introverted character who hesitates throughout the book to share information about his life . J.D Salinger makes sure to portray Holden that way to

    Read More

  • Psychoanalytic Reading Of The Catcher In The Rye

    1308 Words |6 Pages

    Holden is now lost in his own fantasy world not wanting to grow up from his childhood life, due to the tragedy of Allies death. Freud’s theory would examine the depth of the unconscious state and its primary root source attached to incomprehensible pain by noting, “the preconscious state holds information we’ve stored from past experience...This information can be retrieved from memory and brought into awareness at any time” (Freud 469). Because Holden never stops thinking of his brother he is trapped in his own world and can’t find an escape to his mood disorder of depression and his emotion of tribulant grief. However, Holden acknowledges that he is lost, “they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all…I don’t blame them” (Salinger 38). Moreover, Holden neglects to grow up. Salinger attributes Holden’s words by implying,‘Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all right. Sure. Sure, I do.’ I thought about it for a minute. ‘But not too much, I guess’ (14). Holden didn’t want to grow up from his childhood years or even think of the future. He wants to remain in his childhood years, when everything was full of life and vivid happiness. Holden’s actions are also childlike, which makes his character unreliable at times, but it irritates Holden when people don’t take him seriously or simply notice that when he tries to change his behavior. For instance, Salinger mentions, “I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age. Sometimes I act a lot older than I am-I really do-but people never notice it. People never notice anything” (9). Salinger adds how people ‘never notice anything’ to Holden’s feelings because Holden is a boy, whom his parents don’t take care of, which sparks Holden’s feelings of no one even caring and noticing him. As identified in the beginning of the Novel Stradlater opens Holden’s feelings with dialogue which reveals “my parents were occupied and all that crap…” (1). Holden’s family wasn’t really there for him, when he need their advice or

    Read More

    (Video) The Catcher in the Rye | J. D. Salinger | Quotes | Reviews

  • What Are The Causes Of Holden's Mental Breakdown

    2021 Words |9 Pages

    Holden exhibits many of the physical symptoms of depression, such as changes in appetite, unexplained physical problems, and increased consumption of alcohol (Mayo Clinic). By the end of the novel, Holden experienced a complete nervous breakdown and displays many of the symptoms of depression. Once in the novel Holden mentions his thin physique while at a diner. He says, “I’m a very light eater… That’s why I’m so damn skinny,” (Salinger 120). Additionally, another time at a diner he orders a doughnut and coffee, but he is unable to bring himself to eat the doughnut, and even says, “if you get very depressed… it’s hard as hell to swallow,” (Salinger 216). Holden recognized his depression caused by Allie’s death and being isolated in New York for three days, and because of it, he is unable to bring himself to eat. Also, his depression caused him to inexplicably pass out while at a museum (Salinger 225) and nearly vomit while walking around New York (Salinger 202). Additionally, Holden went to Mr. Antolini’s house because he needed a place to stay for the night, and while he was there, Holden said he was “feeling sort of dizzy” and had “a helluva headache all of a sudden,” (Salinger 202). This comes up after Mr. Antolini tries to talk to Holden about his future, and

    Read More

  • Catcher In The Rye Holden's Struggles Essay

    830 Words |4 Pages

    Throughout the novel, The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden struggles to find himself and who he truly is in order to be happy. His struggles relate to many things that he does or say in particular.

    Read More

  • Holden Caulfield Mental Illness

    1704 Words |7 Pages

    To start, the death of Holden’s younger brother, Allie, has impacted Holden’s life to a certain extent. He passed away when he was eleven years old and when Holden was thirteen years old from Leukemia. Holden has not been the same ever since the death and can be shown by, “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t. I slept in the garage the night he died and broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it” (Salinger 39). Ever since the passing of his brother, Holden has never been the same person as he had been. He never quits thinking of Allie and he believes he is with him at all times. When Holden is depressed, which happens frequently, he decides to speak to Allie to comfort him, as shown by, “What I did, I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed. I keep telling him to go home and get his bike and meet me in front of Bobby Fallon 's house” (Salinger 98). Holden always keeps a spot in the back of his head for his younger brother so he can communicate with him whenever. By communicating with Allie, Holden feels better about himself, as he can recall past events that he shared with his brother. To add, the death and tormenting of Holden’s former peer, James

    Read More

  • Holden In The Rye Character Analysis

    1919 Words |8 Pages

    The challenges Holden prevails overemphasize his diligence and highlight the committed route he embarks on as a hero. Salinger utilizes Holden’s hardships to portray the struggle he encounters while battling against his adverse odds during his escapade. Through Salinger’s interpretation of a hero, he depicts Holden as a character who persists to pass the obstacles that confront him; to illustrate, Holden’s constant feeling of loneliness consumes him along with his demoralizing background, providing an unstable foundation for Holden to grow and mature: "…I had this feeling that I 'd never get to the other side of the street. I thought I 'd just go down, down, down, and nobody 'd ever see me again…I 'd make believe I was talking to my brother

    Read More

    (Video) Loneliness and Depression in The Catcher in the Rye Elwi Video Presentation 1
  • Misfit In The Catcher In The Rye

    1418 Words |6 Pages

    In The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger portrays a fascinating juvenile misfit character extensively named Holden Caulfield. Holden goes to school at the age of sixteen and is said to be a misfit in society. However, even though society is corrupt in some ways, Holden Caulfield is a misfit no matter if people say he is misunderstood in the eyes of society.

    Read More

  • Does Holden Have Ptsd In Catcher In The Rye

    2377 Words |10 Pages

    Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Holden is already a lonely individual. He adventures around New York City, which is highly populated, and he probably passes thousands of people, but does not understand the concept on socializing with people and respect. He often finds himself criticizing them, this keeps him isolated from everyone. Holden later finds himself trying to exempt the feeling of being lonely by calling people from his childhood, and eventually people he barely knew just so he had someone to talk to. After his brother Allie died, the first thing Holden did was punch out all the windows in his garage. He also attacked Stradlater after he refuses to use Holden’s essay because he felt Stradlater was dissing Allie. Most grievers bargain with God, but Holden is not religious so he bargains directly to Allie, praying to keep him from disappearing. Holden Begins to feel adulthood as he’s maturing from childhood. He does not only grieve for the death of Allie, but also for the death of his childhood. Toward the end of the book however, he begins to accept it all into reality and realize that he is growing up and it is all a part of life. This is apparent in his Catcher in the Rye speech, instead of him saying he still wants to be one of the kids in the field, he accepts that he has outgrown it and wants to be the Catcher, or the protector of

    Read More

  • Catcher In The Rye: Bildungsroman Analysis

    1134 Words |5 Pages

    (Video) Video SparkNotes: J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye summary

    An important part of a person’s life is when they finally learn how to be more mature and have basically come of age. When a character achieves this quest in a story it is called the Bildungsroman. In this genre of literature, the story displays and demonstrates how the character grows up and becomes an adult. They learn how to be mature in important situations and most importantly they are able to leave behind their ties to their childhood. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is very immature throughout most of the story. He refuses to give up his childhood and he is anxious to see what the future hold for him. Towards the end of the book, the reader is able to catch glimpses of Holden’s new found maturity. He is starting to understand that growing up is a big responsibility and is finally ready to take on that challenge. Although he has not completely matured, one distinct moment at the end of the book lets the reader know he will reach complete maturity in the near future. In J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, the author

    Read More


What does Holden do when he's depressed? ›

When Holden gets very depressed, he sometimes talks "sort of out loud" to his younger brother. He does so after Sunny leaves. His communication with Allie is almost religious, a confession of Holden's boyhood lack of consideration for the kid.

What is an example of Holden having suicidal thoughts? ›

Throughout the novel, Holden frequently states that he feels depressed, and often entertains morbid thoughts. For example, after Maurice punches him in the gut, Holden thinks, “What I really felt like, though, is committing suicide.

What is an example of Holden being emotionally unstable? ›

Holden's initial issue is that he is emotionally unstable. We learn that through the book he has many breakdowns and outbursts of emotion and feelings. Holden says, “He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946.” Holden says this with deep sadness and sympathy for the death of his brother.

What does Holden find depressing? ›

J.D Salinger, in the novel The Catcher in the Rye demonstrates how Holden is affected by the tragic death of his brother Allie. Allie's death is the root of Holden's depression and negative choices.

How does Holden struggle with depression? ›

He is overwhelmed with untreated grief and depression. His actions are impulsive and irrational, and his thoughts are very upsetting and erratic. The difficulty in social settings and trauma makes it hard for him to filter what he says to others, and he can't understand why they reject him.

Why is Holden depressed in Chapter 13? ›

As Holden thinks about his lost gloves and his own cowardliness, he becomes more and more depressed. Because of this, he decides that he'd like to get drunk, noting that he's capable of drinking quite a bit of liquor without getting sick.

What chapter does Holden say he is depressed? ›

Holden Caulfield in Chapter 7. Holden has been expelled from Pencey for failing classes. Here he describes his exit. He cries as his feelings of depression and lonliness crash down on him at once.

What causes Holden's mental breakdown? ›

In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the character, Holden Caulfield, has an underlying mental condition. He failed out of four schools; he saw his friend commit suicide; and his younger brother died of cancer. These life-changing experiences paved the way for Holden's insecure and unstable life.

What mental disorder does Holden have? ›

Salinger's manuscript for The Catcher in the Rye. Today, readers might infer that Holden must be suffering from some combination of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. Holden himself references mental illness, trauma, and psychoanalysis.

What are some examples of Holden's anxiety? ›

Caulfield indicates that he has anxiety disorder by showing physical and mental symptoms such as; sweating excessively, difficulty finding peace of mind, going to the restroom when having panic attack, and failing at school, Holden Caulfield has background story that affects his current anxiety which are: absence of ...

What chapter does Holden have a mental breakdown? ›

Holden's breakdown reaches its climax in Chapter 25. As the chapter begins, Holden feels surrounded on all sides by ugliness and phoniness—the profanity on the walls, the vulgar Christmas-tree delivery men, the empty pomp of Christmas—and his recent interactions with Phoebe and Mr.

Why is Holden emotionally unstable? ›

In The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the character, Holden Caulfield, has an underlying mental condition. He failed out of four schools; he saw his friend commit suicide; and his younger brother died of cancer. These life-changing experiences paved the way for Holden's insecure and unstable life.

How many times does Holden say depressed? ›

Let's do some word counting: variations of “depressed” or “depressing” occur 41 times in Catcher in the Rye.

What does the depression symbolize in Catcher in the Rye? ›

A prominent cause of Holden Caulfield's depression is his detachment from society. To begin with, Holden isolates himself from the people around him as he refrains from developing social bonds.

What makes Holden sad in Chapter 7? ›

Holden's final decision in Chapter 7 is to leave Pencey Prep before his family finds out he got expelled. He wants to stay gone for a bit so they will not be so angry at him. As he packs, Holden gets depressed a bit because of the ice skates his mother just gave him as a gift.

What is Holden's biggest struggle? ›

The three most significant struggles he faces are with relationships, family pressure, and society. Holden struggles are with relationships, both with people and with himself. He seems to have a hard time getting along with anyone. In the book it is seen several times with Holden where he struggles with other people.

How does Holden from The Catcher in the Rye have PTSD? ›

Holden suffers from PTSD after his brother is harmed by cancer and his death takes on a large roll in Holden's mental health problems. Holden's suffering continues throughout his life with the trauma that affected him early on. Holden faces traumatic factors that lead to recurrent memories that tear him apart mentally.

Why does sunny make Holden feel depressed? ›

He is interested in sex, but he doesn't quite understand how to get there. What he learns with Sunny is that he prefers not to get there with a prostitute. The whole scene is depressing rather than erotic for Holden. He has to get to know a girl, and like her a lot, before he is comfortable with intimacy.

How does Holden feel Chapter 15? ›

Holden feels good about the donation he has given to the nuns, but he is becoming concerned about money. He left Pencey with quite a "wad of dough" because his grandmother had just sent him a lavish birthday gift.

What made Holden cry Chapter 14? ›

Standing his ground, Holden refuses to pay Maurice more money, so Maurice pins him while Sunny takes his wallet. At this point, Holden begins to cry and accuses Sunny and Maurice of stealing from him, so Maurice pushes him.

What is Holden's mental state in Chapter 20? ›

Holden is cold, drunk, and alone. Now he notices that he is also nearly broke.

What is Holden's emotional state in Chapter 7? ›

In this section, Holden's frantic loneliness and constant lying further the implication that he is not well mentally or emotionally.

Why did Holden cry in Chapter 23? ›

He is moved to tears when his sister gives him her Christmas stash, eight dollars and sixty-five cents.

Why did Holden start crying? ›

Why does Holden cry uncontrollably when Phoebe gives him her Christmas money? He realizes that Phoebe cares about him because she gave him her money which nobody else Holden knows would do that to him.

Does Holden end up in a mental hospital? ›

Holden is not specific about his location while he's telling the story, but he makes it clear that he is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital or sanatorium. The events he narrates take place in the few days between the end of the fall school term and Christmas, when Holden is sixteen years old.

What trauma did Holden go through? ›

When the novel opens, Salinger's protagonist, Holden, is reeling from two traumas: his little brother Allie has died of leukemia and his parents, in a misguided attempt to protect him, bar him from attending the funeral before shipping him off to prep school. He's expelled from that school, and three others.

How does Holden fear adulthood? ›

The lack of love, attention and faith in life makes him afraid of adulthood. He does not want to be part of that frightening world. He looks for answers and tries to find himself and stop being stuck in between childhood and adulthood.

Why did it depress Holden when an old guy? ›

Why did it depress Holden when an "old guy" told him that his days at Pencey were the happiest days of his life? Holden got depressed when someone said to him that the time he has at Pencey were the happiest days of his life because now he has totally removed it out of his life, happiness.

Why is Holden suicidal? ›

The deaths of his younger brother and a former classmate have caused Holden to reflect upon dying frequently. They have also negatively impacted his mental health, leading to the development of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Why does Holden feel sad whenever he receives a present? ›

Holden reflects that his mother bought him this thoughtful gift, and he is disappointing her again by being expelled. Every time someone gives him a gift, it ends up making him sad.

What can symbolize depression? ›

You might have seen rainstorm images, ravens, and skull or grim reaper symbols. Barren landscapes and faces of cliffs are popular, too. All of these are commonly associated with depression because they capture the essence of the darkness, despair, struggle, and thoughts of death that are hallmarks of major depression.

How was Holden depressed? ›

Why is Holden Caulfield depressed? After Holden's brother, Allie, died his emotional world turns upside down and he cannot grasp reality or the need to grow up. He struggles with loneliness, feelings of suicide, and discontentment with the world.

How does Holden feel Chapter 9? ›

In chapter nine of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is lonely when he arrives in New York and thinks about calling someone. However, he decides that the people he would call are all bad choices for one reason or another. His brother D.B. lives in Hollywood.

What is bothering Holden at the end of the chapter 4? ›

Holden is first shocked and then concerned when he learns that his roommate's date that night is Jane Gallagher, a friend of his from the summer before his sophomore year.

What does Holden consider because he is so depressed in Chapter 14? ›

That Holden speaks to his dead brother when he's depressed confirms that he has yet to process his emotions about Allie's death.

What is Holden's mental illness? ›

Salinger's manuscript for The Catcher in the Rye. Today, readers might infer that Holden must be suffering from some combination of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. Holden himself references mental illness, trauma, and psychoanalysis.


1. The Catcher in the Rye - Thug Notes Summary and Analysis
2. The Catcher in the Rye-Holden Caulfield monologue
(Roma Scarano)
3. The Catcher in the Rye | Summary & Analysis | J.D. Salinger
(Course Hero)
4. The catcher in the rye 1951 Audiobook Salinger
5. The Sad Life of Holden Caulfield
6. Holden's Great Depression
(Caitlin Stasa)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jamar Nader

Last Updated: 22/08/2023

Views: 5455

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jamar Nader

Birthday: 1995-02-28

Address: Apt. 536 6162 Reichel Greens, Port Zackaryside, CT 22682-9804

Phone: +9958384818317

Job: IT Representative

Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.