In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the main character Holden Caulfield, often alienates himself which leads him into severe depression.
Just after Holden leaves Pencey he arrives in New York City. He is feeling like giving someone a call and decides to use the nearby phone booth. “The first thing I did when I got off at Penn Station, I went into this phone booth. I felt like giving somebody a buzz … but as soon as I was inside, I couldn't think of anybody to call up. My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe goes to bed around nine o’clock- so I couldn’t call her up.. Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher's mother a buzz… but I didn’t feel like it. So I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the booth, after about twenty minutes or so.” (59) Holden feels like calling someone but ends up not doing so and isolates himself even more. Holden does this periodically throughout the novel and his isolation often leads him into a manic depression. He finds it extremely difficult to connect with people or to open up to them. The onomonopia buzz is used several times in this quote. Slang often indicates immaturity in someone. The selection of language shows just how childish and immature Holden really is.
Just before Holden leaves Pencey to say good-bye to Mr. Spencer, he watches the football game from the top of the hill. “Only I wasn’t watching the game too much. What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some sort of good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving. I hate that.” (4) Holden had been kicked out of Pencey and is watching the football game hoping to feel some sort of closure or good-bye from the school and its members. The motif of alienation is shown here for the first time in the novel. He is alone on the hill with no friends or colleagues by him. He isolates himself by refusing to go down towards the field where the other kids are seated. Also during this section of the book, Holden keeps saying how cold it is getting out side. This could represent the depression and isolation that he can feel starting to come over him again. Holden is looking for a sense of closure and maybe even comfort from his former school.
While Holden is in the room with Sunny, the prostitute, he proposes that they just talk. Sunny doesn’t take to kindly to this idea but Holden attempts to talk her into it. “I don’t feel much like myself tonight. I’ve had a rough night. Honest to God. I’ll pay you and all but do you mind very much if we don’t do it. The trouble was I just didn’t want to do it. I felt more depressed than sexy if you want to know the truth.” (96) Sunny was part of the sub plot in the novel involving Maurice. She was a symbol of loss of innocence. If Holden were to sleep with her he would have lost his innocence. Holden constantly says throughout the novel how important the innocence of adolescents is to him. Seeing Sunny makes him depressed...