Diagnosing Holden Shayn Horrocks


In the Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, published in 1951, a teen named Holden I struggling through a mental disorder and his goal is to save other children's innocence. I believe that Holden is suffering from depression because of the multiple symptoms he shows throughout the book. In Salinger's the Catcher in the Rye, Holden is suffering from depression showing symptoms of suicidal thoughts and irritability.

Thoughts of Suicide

Holden has talked about suicide at different points in the book which is a clear sign of depression and it makes the reader think that he may actually be contemplating suicide. When doing research I saw this was one of the symptoms of depression, "If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks, you maybe be suffering from depression... thoughts of death or suicide" (NIMH). He said many things in the book as well as shown in the quote, "What it really felt like though, was, committing suicide . I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it too, if I'd be sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all glory" (Salinger 104). Holden was having some problems at the time which lead to him saying these kinds of things. It very clearly shows that he is suicidal which is a major symptom of Depression so I feel that would be the correct diagnosis for Holden.


It is clear that what Holden has gone through in life is not mediocre and is what would have lead Holden to become depressed. When researching the website said, "If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks, you maybe be suffering from depression... irritability"(NIMH). In the book there were some key moments that showed us he was struggling with something mentally. One of these moments was, "Somebody'd written Fuck you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant"(Salinger 201). Holden got very angry about the fact that someone had written profanity on the wall and was to the point where he wanted to fight who ever it was, while most people would not get nearly as upset showing that he does have irritability which is a symptom of depression.


In the book, the Catcher in the Rye, written by Salinger, Holden suffers from depression and shows many symptoms including irritability and suicidal thoughts. He has shown that he is very irritable when he reacts to events in the way he did. He also shows that he has had thoughts of suicide when he has moments of need and struggle. Overall I feel that their are many reasons and information proving that Holden was going through depression during this book.

Work cited

“Depression.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.

Salinger, J. D., et al. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston, Little, Brown, and Company, 1951.

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