Essay, Research Paper: Catcher In The Rye

Literature: Catcher in The Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, portrays Holden Cawfield a New York
City teenager in the 1950's as a manic-depressive. Holden's depression starts
with the death of his brother, Allie . Holden is expelled from numerous schools
due to his poor academics which are brought on by his depression. Manic
depression, compulsive lying, and immaturity throughout the novel characterize
Holden. Events in Holden's life lead him to become depressed. Holden's
depression centers on Allie. The manner that Holden sees himself and how he sees
others leads him to be expelled from school. The speaker expresses, "One
thing about packing depressed me a little," (51). 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. He is all alone and he laments, " What I
really felt like doing was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out of the
window," (104). Holden says this while he is all alone in his motel room.
He is too ashamed of himself to return home, he knows that his mother will be
upset and his father will be angry with him. 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). Holden states this during one of the
first nights that he is staying in New York. Holden expresses many thoughts of
depression. Compulsive lying is another characteristic that Holden exhibits.
Holden would tell people lies just so they could not become closer to the real
Holden. Holden tells lies on numerous occasions to gain. Holden pathetically
tells Mrs. Morrow, " I have to have a tiny operation… it isn't very
serious. I have this tiny little tumor on my brain" (58). She tells Holden
that she is very sorry and she is hopeful that he shall be well soon. Holden
then catches him self in a lie and he remarkes, "Once I get started, I can
go on for hours if I feel like it," (58). This compulsive lying shows that
Holden is not satisfied with himself and that he feels that people will judge
him critically. Holden is also a very immature person. He becomes very jealous
and he pretends that recess is everywhere. Holden shows his jealousy when he
finds out that his roommate is dating Jane Gallagher. Jane is Holden's next door
neighboor. He confessed," I could hardly keep my voice from shaking all
over the place. Boy, was I getting nervous" (42). Holden expresses these
feelings to the reader while he is talking to Stradlater about Jane. The
jealousy and immaturity of Holden leads them into a fight. Holden is also
immature in the relationships that he has with females. He explains the cab ride
to the theater with Sally, " We horsed around a little bit in the cab on
the way over to the theater. At first she didn't want to, because she had her
lipstick on and all, but I was being seductive as hell and she didn’t have any
alternative"(125). He continues to tell her how much he loved her and then
he regrets saying that because he really does not. Holden's depression,
immaturity, and suicidal thoughts lead Holden to the rest home where he tells
this story. The characteristics that Holden portrays lead him to being expelled
from school, problems with his parents, and problems in his social life. Had
Holden not been suicidal and immature he would.

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