J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye portrays Holden Caulfield, a New York City teenager in the 1950's, as a manic-depressive. Some critics of Salinger’s novel assert that Holden is too whiney and annoying as a character. What these critics fail to realize is that Holden’s actions throughout the novel perfectly exemplify that of a depressed teenager. Manic depression, compulsive lying, and immaturity throughout the novel characterize Holden. Holden's depression finds its roots with the death of his brother, Allie. Holden is expelled from numerous schools due to his poor academics brought on by his depression. The manner that Holden sees himself and how he sees others leads him to be expelled from school. According to Michael Martin’s book titled Teen Depression, “depressed teenagers can struggle with depression for month or years. “It is a mental disorder which… includes… feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, problems with concentration” (Teen Depression). Throughout the novel, Holden exhibits these symptoms quite frequently. In fact, Holden makes his depression clear when he expresses how, “packing depressed me a little," (51, Catcher). Holden expresses these feelings when he packs his bags after being notified that he is expelled. Holden leaves school and heads for New York City, where he finds himself to be more lonely and depressed than ever. When alone, Holden laments that “what I really felt like doing was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out of the window." (104, Catcher). Too ashamed to return home, knowing his mother will be upset and his father will be angry with him, Holden turns to thoughts of suicide. He also adds that "I wasn’t feeling sleepy or anything, but I was feeling sort of lousy. Depressed and all, I almost wished I was dead," (90, Catcher). Critics tend to describe Holden as being just an angst riddled teenager, whose perspective of the world around him is warped. While these critics may view these attributes as...
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Lomazoff, Eric. "The Praises and Criticisms of J.D. Salinger 's The Catcher in the Rye." LEVITY. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <http://www.levity.com/corduroy/salinger1.htm>.
Martin, Michael. Teen Depression. New York: Lucent Books, 2005. Print.
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