In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, published in 1951, the protagonist is a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield. Throughout the book, Holden encounters many trials of haunting memories, tribulations, and physical encounters. All of these factors add up to a single conclusion; Holden is suffering from a form of depression.
Throughout Holden's narration, he proves to be quite the unreliable narrator. When he does slip truths into his speaking, he reveals that he has had an unhappy childhood. For instance, he has had his younger brother Allie pass away from leukemia. That night, Holden breaks all the windows in his garage, out of anger from Allie's death. Holden claims that he would have broken the family station wagon's windows, if his hand didn't hurt too much. Also, Holden witnesses James Castle's suicide by jumping out of a window, while he was wearing Holden's sweater. Finally, Holden may have been molested in his past, as seen when Mr. Antolini is caught stroking Holden's head as he slept. All of these scenes may have affected Holden personally, and seriously compromised his mind .
Throughout the novel, Holden consistently reveals issues with society and communicating with others, as he skips the annual football game in the beginning and leaves Pencey Prep. Then, he travels to NYC and comes to the conclusion that he has no one to talk to. These show the reader that Holden shows symptoms of depression, as some signs of the disorder include "Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood."