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Depression And Loneliness Within The Catcher In The Rye

1098 words - 5 pages

Within the past few years, teenage depression is a growing issue in society. According to a recent study by, approximately 20% of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, features a 16 year old boy named Holden Caulfield. After the death of his brother, Allie, Holden seeps into depression. He repeatedly get kicks out of school and on his fourth time he decides to spend a few days in New York City by himself. Throughout the days that he is alone he faces common problems of an average teenager, but on a more extreme level, such as depression, loneliness, and anxiety. J.D. Salinger explores many themes throughout the novel. ...view middle of the document...

Because of Holdens mental state he is not able to focus on his school work. At one point in the novel Holden straight out mentions that, “It made me feel depressed and lousy again, and I da** near got my coat back and went back to the hotel” (84). The fact that Holden says he is lonely is not only a cause of his depression, but it could be a major reason for his depression. Feelings of depression and loneliness tend to go hand in hand in a teenagers life.
The other main theme that J.D. Salinger displays is that loneliness can lead to irrational behaviors. Holden is at Ernie’s when he says, “I certainly began to feel like a prize horse’s a**, sitting there all by myself. There wasn’t anything to do except smoke and drink” (86). When Holden gets lonely he turns to smoking and drinking. He knows it is not good, but he feels that there is nothing else to do. Shortly after leaving the bar, Holden begins to feel lonely so he pays for a prostitute. He does not really want to have sex with her, instead he says, "Don't you feel like talking for a while? Are you in a very big hurry?" (95). Because of Holden's lack of social skills he does not have anyone to talk to. He is so desperate for someone that he is willing to pay for a prostitute even though he knows it is morally wrong. Later on in the novel Holden sees Sally and at the beginning of their date he says, "I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I'm crazy. I didn't even like her that much, and yet all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her" (124). Through his thought Holden shows that he is so desperate for companionship. He just meets Sally for the first time in a long time and he says he's fallen in love with her. Yet later on he says that he did not even like her. After his date with Sally, Holden goes to the bar with an old friend, Luce. After a brief discussion Luce says that he has to go. Holden begs him and says, "Have...

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