Holden's Mental Instabilities

Page 1 of 3

Holden's Mental Instabilities

By | May 2012
Page 1 of 3
Holden’s Mental Instabilities
At some points in life, everyone experiences some types of sadness, loneliness, and self-deception. In Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger, the character Holden faces these issues constantly but is unable to overcome the adversities and, subsequently, he is sent to a sanatarium. The first motif, Holden’s loneliness, causes him to feel unhappy and makes him go crazy when he reaches out to random people. The second motif, Holden’s depression, becomes so deep that it occurs very frequently leading to his unstable mental status. The third motif is Holden’s delusions about Allie’s death. Loneliness, depression, and delusions about Allie’s death are motifs that are evident in the story and lead to the major theme of Holden having an unstable mental state.

Starting with Holden’s loneliness and isolation, mental complications begin to arise. At one point in the story, Holden asks a taxi cab driver, “Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail? I’m loaded” (p.60). Holden is obviously extremely lonely which makes Holden ask a stranger to spend time with him. Holden, out of desperation, even offers to pay someone to spend time with him and evidently is not even thinking properly. Also, towards the end of the story, Holden says, “About all I know is, I sorta miss everybody I told about. Even old Stradlater and Ackley” (p.214). Holden expresses his excessive loneliness by missing people that he did not know very well. The idea of a simple close companionship seems so distant for him that all he wants to do is reminisce about past acquaintances. In addition, when Holden feels isolated, he thinks to himself, “ ...I was crying and all. I don’t know why, but I was. I guess it was because I was feeling so damn depressed and lonesome” (p.153). His isolation has affected him so much that his mental stability deteriorates further making him feel crestfallen . Holden cannot even comprehend the reason for his own...