9 March 2013
In the novel Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is depressed teenager filled with angst. His depression is not only evident in his words, but his actions as well. He has never really lived a normal life, for his little brother died when he was just a young boy. He is vulnerable, and he has been in many situations no other person should ever have to experience. Throughout the story, Holden displays his depression and loneliness; he is trapped in a world where he feels he does not belong.
Holden endures an incredible amount of distress at a very young age. The death of his younger brother, Allie, and his family’s unusual way of handling it was the start of his depression. “I was only thirteen, and they were going to have me psychoanalyzed and all, because I broke all the windows in the garage. I don’t blame them. I really don’t. I slept in the garage the night he died, and I broke all the goddam windows with my fist, just for the hell of it”. (Salinger, 98). Holden misses his little brother, for example, one night while he was walking down the street in the city, he pretends he is talking to Allie. “Every time I'd get to the end of a block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, ‘Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie,’ and then when I'd reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank him”. (Salinger, 198). Holden’s fear of disappearing off of the sidewalk relates to his isolation of the world around him. When he says he is afraid of disappearing, he may really mean he is afraid of dying. He has dealt with death his whole life, but he is so frightened by the thought of dying, he refers to it as disappearing. After Allie’s death, Holden feels isolated from the rest of the world; like he didn’t fit in. He never really expressed himself in the ways...