How do Holden?s Interactions with different Characters in
New York Contribute to his Mental Breakdown?
The different characters that Holden meets in New York contribute to his mental breakdown by increasing his depression and making him think about the world too much. They make him wonder whether he wants to be an adult. People that depress him are phonies, perverts, and corrupted adults. Children, on the other hand, make Holden happy with their innocence. He does not want to grow up to be phony and corrupted, but he wants to be able to have some adult respect and not to be looked down on as a kid.
Phonies depress Holden because he does not want to be like them when he grows up. One of the phony characters is Sally Hayes. Holden first thinks she is a phony when she says the word ?grand?. ?Grand. If there?s one word I hate, it?s grand. It?s so phony.? (pg. 106) Holden is very worried about people being phonies. It depresses him even more if someone his age is already a phony.
During his stay in New York, Holden sees and meets many perverted adults. The first ones Holden sees from his window in the Edmont Hotel. He first sees a man dressing up in women?s clothes, then walking around his room like a woman and looking at himself in the mirror. This sight makes Holden feel sort of sick and depressed. Then he sees a man and woman squirting water into each other?s mouths. ??first he?d take a swallow and squirt it all over her, then she did it to him-they took turns, for God?s sake.? (pg. 62) There are so many perverts in Holden?s hotel that it makes him think that a great part of adult society is like this. Holden is disgusted by their actions, and he does not want to be like them.
Holden also comes into contact with corrupted adults when he asks Maurice, the elevator boy, to send a prostitute up to his room. The prostitute, Sunny, comes and immediately begins undressing, but Holden stops her. He tells her that he is not in the mood and just wants to chat. Sunny does not understand this strange behavior. ?All I know you?re supposed to feel pretty sexy when someone gets up and pulls their dress over their head, but I didn?t?I felt much more depressed than sexy.? (pg. 95) Holden is feeling depressed, and he dislikes the way that Sunny only cares about her job of prostitution. When Holden tells Sunny he just wants to chat means that he is feeling very lonely. As Sunny gets up to leave, they get in an argument. Maurice, the elevator boy, told Holden it is only five dollars until midnight, but Sunny demands ten. Only being given five dollars, Sunny leaves.
Holden becomes depressed almost to the point of suicide when he gets robbed by Sunny and Maurice. After Sunny leaves, he goes to bed, but he soon wakes up when Sunny returns with Maurice. Again they argue for the five dollars and Sunny takes it by force. After Holden gets beaten up and Maurice and Sunny leave, Holden begins to feel the pain of the adult world. He feels so...