Diagnosing Holden By; Olivia Chaplin


This project "Diagnosing Holden" from the Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951 is explaining what kind of mental health issue Holden is dealing with as a young teen. The Catcher in the Rye is being told by Holden Caulfield, and is in the time frame of 1951. Holden isn't technically the "norm" of a teenager. Holden has a lot of weight on his shoulders as a teen. His parents sent him off to this school called Pency Prep, he performed very well as a student in only English. Then later on he decided to leave Pency Prep, and roamed around New York City doing stupid, ignorant teen things. Holden admires this girl he used to date, Jane Gallagher. His roomie Stradlater, has gone on dates with her which made Holden jealous. Holden has gone through a lot of phases from isolating himself and having suicidal thoughts. I am diagnosing Holden with Depression. Holden suffers from loss of interest in activities and thoughts of suicide.

Symptom 1

Holden exhibits a lot of times throughout his teen years where he looses interest to activities. At Pency Prep when he attend that school in the beginning of the book, there was this big football game, everyone usually gets together to go to and cheer on the team. Holden didn't go, he stayed home and simply watched through his window. Holden didn't traverse through Pency Prep like he did in New York City. Holden isolated himself a lot at Pency Prep, he stayed in his dorm with his roomie Stradlater. Depression has a lot of symptoms connected to it, loss of intrest in activites/isolation is one of them, and Holden is experiencing that.

Symptom 2

Holden also exhibits times where he just mentions suicide or has little comments about it. He mentions towards the middle of the book " What it really felt like though, was, committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it too, if id be sure somebody'd covered me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory." (pg 104) With depression comes a lot of suicide thoughts just like Holden is expressing here. Holden does come across things that could be seen as very malignant or dangerous, from saying things like that and his actions show that very well too.


I diagnosed Holden with a Mental Health issue that is called, Depression. Holden suffers from loss of interest in activities, and suicidal thoughts. Holden goes through his symptoms I have diagnosed him with. Holden struggled with loss of interest, an example I explained up above which was not attending a big football game everyone went to and instead he watched from his window, another example I explained was suicidal thoughts which he said he would kill himself if someone would be there to cover him up right after he jumped out of his window. Diagnosing Holden with depression I feel is best because as a teen your going to go through depression and having to isolate yourself and possibly have suicidal thoughts due to your case.

Work cited

National Institute of Mental Health. “Depression” National Institute of Mental Health, Oct, 2016.

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

National Institute of Mental Health. “The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction” National

Institute of Health, 2011. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in The Rye. Little, Brown, and Company, 1954

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