Diagnosing Holden Sydney m


In the beginning of the book Holden is kicked out of school but instead of going home he uses all the money he has and runs around New York City by himself. Holden has had some pretty traumatic life situations happen to him when he was younger, such as losing his younger brother Allie. After Holden loses his brother everything seems to go downhill for him. The effects that losing his brother has on him are very troubling which leads me to think he is depressed. Depression is a severe disease that affects how you feel, think, and handle things. In Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Holden shows symptoms of depression such as worthlessness and irritability.


All throughout the book Holden faces many struggles, like when he lost his brother Allie and when he was sexually assaulted by a teacher at a young age, alone with being kicked out of schools all the time. Most people wouldn't describe Holden as a mediocre teenager. When Holden loses his brother, things start to get worse for him. Holden begins to think about when he dies who would be at his funeral. He says, "I thought probably id get pneumonia and die. I started picturing millions of jerks coming to my funeral and all" (Salinger 154). All throughout the book Holden talks about dying. Constantly dropping little bits in everywhere about how no one would care if he died then and there. This is one of the reasons that I believe that Holden is depressed. The feelings of worthlessness is a symptom of being depressed which as said above is a feeling that Holden is very accustomed to.


Another perilous symptom that Holden expresses is irritability. He is a very miserable teenager all throughout the book, constantly cursing at people or yelling at them. Holden gets into fights with a few people too like when he fights his roommate and when he fights Maurice because he refused to pay the extra $5 for calling Sally. Holden was always hot tempered when it came to just about anything. As the book states, "...Then I went over and laid down on Ely's bed. Boy, did I feel rotten. I felt so damn lonesome" (Salinger 47). Holden never felt like he belonged anywhere which made him feel very angry with the life he lived, like there was always something missing. This is another symptom that Holden possessed that showed that he was depressed.


The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger, Holden portrays symptoms such as worthlessness and irritability which diagnosis him with depression. Holden goes through very traumatic experiences such as losing his brother, being molested by teachers and getting kicked out of school. For a while he never feels good enough to accomplish anything. Holden also goes through a lot of different experiences while he's running around New York like when he buys a prostitute and when he gets in a fight with his roommate at school. There were a lot of signals that portray depression symptoms in Holden's behavior all throughout the book. I strongly believe that Holden is considered depressed.

Works Cited

National Institutes of Mental Health. “Depression.” National Institute of Mental Health, Oct. 2016. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed 3 Feb. 2017.

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


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