Depression and Loneliness within the Catcher in the Rye

832 Words4 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. The theme of teenage depression interacts with the theme of loneliness and they build off each other. One of the main themes that J.D. Salinger expresses is that depression negatively affects teenagers. The main cause for Holdens depression is the loss of his brother, Allie. He first mentions him when he says, “He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946” (38). This shows the main reason for Holdens problems and how the loss of someone close can affect every aspect of a persons life. Because of his depression Holden is consistently going to bars and getting drunk. At one part he is sitting at a bar and he says, “I sat at that godd*** bar till around one o'clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight” (150). When Holden becomes depressed he turns to alcohol. This affects the decisions he makes because he is not in the right mental state. Holden also shows his depression when he is talking to one of his teachers, Mr. Spencer about him getting kicked out. He asks Holden how his parents will react a... ... middle of paper ... ...owhere to sleep, however after a turn of events Holden leaves and sleeps outside on a park bench. He becomes depressed because he realizes that he has no place to go anymore. In conclusion, the themes of teenage depression and loneliness are connected in many ways throughout the novel. Holdens depression stems from the early loss of his brother which affects his entirety of his life. He also deals with loneliness which is a cause from his depression. J.D. Salinger then displays that depression and loneliness tend to be linked together when Holden alienates himself because of his problems. The themes of teenage depression and loneliness are not the only themes that J.D. Salinger expresses throughout the Catcher in the Rye. There are plenty of other teenagers that struggle with these types of problems and only time will tell to see if something will be done about it.
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