Diagnosing Holden TAylor fegely


Holden is the main character in J.D Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye, published in 1951. Within this book Holden experiences many hardships when he comes into contact with adulthood. Depression is a significant mental illness that attacks teenagers and adults often. This illness disturbs an individuals everyday activities. Depression can be treated with medication and therapy. In Salinger's The Cather In The Rye, Holden undergoes depression and displays many indicators that the illness obtains.


Throughout Holden's adventures through New York and the stories he has told the reader, he clearly displays that he enjoys being alone. Holden promptly informs the readers in the beginning of the book that he did not want to be down at the Pencey Prep football game. From that point on he regularly reminds that reader that he is not a people person. Holden states "The game with Saxon Hall was supposed to be a very big deal around Pencey". (Salinger 2) Even though this football games was one of the most talked about within his school, Holden would rather miss this important game than be around his fellow classmates ate Pencey. This is not what a typical highschooler would act like and this bewilders the readers right at the start of the book. Proven studies have shown that people diagnosed with depression seem to isolate themselves. They would rather be by themselves rather than in large, social groups. The exclusion of Holden in events continues throughout the book, it does not only happen once. When diagnosed with depression, "The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness". (NIMH) If Holden only seemed to be isolated at the beginning of the book, readers may not diagnose him with depression. But since Holden had long term evidence of isolation, depression is present.

Suicidal Thoughts

Holden makes many dark comments about his death. He often talks about what he thinks his funeral will be like and wonders which of his loved ones will attend it. Holden wishes throughout the book that tragic events would happen just so that he could die. "Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will". (Salinger 18) It is well known by many people that obtaining depression often increases the chances of suicide. Holden has been by himself for a long period of time without comfort from friends family. This can cause a teenager to feel sad, unwanted, and used. It is proven that "Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors". (NIMH) Since Holden has been in an environment of his own lately this could very much increase suicidal thoughts.


In Salinger's The Cather In The Rye, Holden undergoes depression and displays many indicators that the illness obtains. Isolation and suicidal thoughts is one of many symptoms of depression that Holden has. His isolation from large groups of people and social activities clearly shows how isolated he really is. His remarkable amount of discussion about suicide and death shows the thoughts he has towards suicide. In conclusion, Holden's signs and symptoms declares that he has depression.


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

National Institute of Mental Health. "Depression." National Institute of Mental Health, Oct. 2016, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.


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