Diagnosing Holden Samantha E.


In 1945, J.D. Salinger got a book published, this book is called The Catcher in the Rye. This book follows a boy named Holden, he goes through a lot during the time in the book. I believe that Holden suffers from depression. In Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Holden suffers from depression exhibiting symptoms of being sleep deprived and suicidal thoughts.

Difficulty Sleeping

In the book, The Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, shows multiple of signs of having depression, one sign of this is "difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping" (NIMH). Even though this is not a very big sign of depression Holden that he has a very fluctuated sleeping pattern. For instance one morning Holden was saying "I didn’t sleep too long, because I think it was only around ten o’clock when I woke up” (Salinger 105). Some might think that it is normal for a teenager to sleep in this late but I think that this shows that he is depressed. He went to bed really late the night before because he was thinking about life, and then he didn't wake up till 10 because he was up thinking. Being sleep deprived is not the only sign of depression that Holden shows, he also has suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal thoughts

Another sign of depression that Holden has is "thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts" (NIMH). He has this multiple times throughout the book. In one instance he was joking about the big game he says that “the game with Saxon Hall was supposed to be a very big deal around Pencey. It was the last game of the last game of the year, and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old Pencey didn’t win” (Salinger 2). Even though Holden was joking about this I feel like it might have been a little true. He might not have cared for the game but maybe he wanted to commit suicide because the school was stressing him out.


In The Catcher and the Rye, by Salinger, the main character, Holden has a depressed stature, showing the symptoms of being sleep deprived and suicidal thoughts. In multiple times where Holden does not get enough sleep and were he thinks about suicide. These reasons are the reasons I believe that Holden has depression.

Works Cited

National Institute of Mental Health.“Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, Oct. 2016, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed 8 Feb. 2017.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. Little, Brown, and company 1951.


Created with images by 50 Watts - "M. S. Corley, Catcher in the Rye (entry for the 50 Watts' Polish Book Cover Contest)"

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