Emotional Breakdown

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The Catcher in the Rye Essay
Bertrand Arthur William Russell once said, “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.” Every day, thousands of people have an emotional or psychological breakdown. It can be spontaneous or it can be built up and that person can leave signs that would show an oncoming breakdown. In the novel, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Holden Caulfield, is a 16 year old troubled boy who is trying to find his own identity and his purpose in the world. Along the way, Holden shows many increasing signs of an emotional/ psychological breakdown throughout the book.

Holden shows symptoms of an incoming emotional/ psychological breakdown from thoughts of suicide and death. For instance, when Holden was alone in a hotel lobby, he felt “Depressed and all. [He] almost wished [he] was dead” (90). Holden is a very sad and gloomy teenager. Many passages throughout the book prove that he constantly feels that way. Because he is so depressed, he has suicidal thoughts which are common symptoms of an incoming emotional/ psychological breakdown. Another example is when Holden says, “What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window” (104). Holden has had suicidal/ death thoughts more than once now. People who have had more than one attempt of committing suicide or thoughts of suicide have a greater chance of doing it in the future. Since, Holden has various thoughts of suicide and death, it shows another sign of a breakdown in the near future. Holden’s loneliness is also a cause of an oncoming breakdown. For example, he calls a girl named Faith Cavendish and says, “‘well, you don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Eddie Birdshell’s. He suggested that if I were in town sometime, we ought to get together for a cocktail or two’” (64). Holden called Faith, a girl who he has never met before, in the middle of the night. Holden can’t...
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