Everybody feels depressed at some time or another in his or her lives. However, it becomes a problem when depression is so much a part of a person's life that he or she can no longer experience happiness. In Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, the author develops the theme of Holden’s depression because it fully portrays Holden’s outlook on the ‘real’ world and life itself. The cause of Holden’s depression can be seen as his lack of personal motivation, his inability to self-reflect and his stubbornness towards people who try to interact with him, which collectively results in him giving up on life before he ever really has a chance to get it started.
One of the largest themes that Holden’s depression connects to in Catcher in the Rye is loneliness. Throughout Holden’s life he has constantly felt alone and this feeling of loneliness has resided within him for so long that it has become a permanent part of his character. But, has Holden brought this loneliness and depression upon himself? Early in the novel, it is apparent that Holden does not like to interact with people who are phony and according to him, Pencey Prep is filled with phonies. One of the phonies that Holden interacts with is his roommate, Stradlater. During the aftermath of a fight with Stradlater, Holden is left alone to ponder his thoughts and one of the first feelings that he expresses is that he feels “so damn lonesome”(63). Holden quickly realizes that he has no friends at Pencey and decides that it is a good time to leave Pencey. We know that Holden feels this way because he sates, “All of a sudden, I decided what I’d really do, I’d get the hell out of Pencey – right that same night and all. I mean not wait or anything. I just didn’t want to hang around anymore. It made me too sad and lonesome”(66). In these quotes, the repetition of the words “sad” and “lonesome” suggest that Holden is depresses about where he is in life, emotionally and physically. With that said, Holden sets out alone for...
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