"The Catcher in the Rye", J.D. Salinger

Essay by taggy004High School, 11th gradeA-, March 2007

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In "The Catcher in the Rye", Holden Caulfield has some sort of mental disorder, as he ends up in an institution. To get a deeper understanding of Holden’s problem, one must evaluate his different moods throughout the tale. For instance, Holden’s constant depression with rare moments of happiness indicates suppressed feelings from some previous event. His spontaneous anger also shows that Holden has problems controlling himself. The changes in Holden’s mood from happy to depressed and his anger can all be attributed to the death of Allie and his suppressed feelings.

During the entire book, Holden mentions feelings of depression after remembering something or having some little thing happen to him. After describing the way Mr. Haas treated some parents at Elkton Hills, Holden says, “I can’t stand that stuff. It drives me crazy. It makes me so depressed I go crazy.”(14) It is interesting that Holden would choose to say that this action made him feel depressed, as it did not affect him personally.

This shows that he is compassionate towards others, but depression would be an overstatement of how he could actually feel. The death of his brother, Allie, has taken its toll on Holden, and has driven his emotions to the extremes.

When Holden is happy, which is very rare, he seems to be happy to an extreme. When Holden is watching Phoebe on the carrousel, he mentions his happiness. “I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth.”(213) His sudden extreme happiness is intriguing, as it involves his little sister. After the loss of his brother, all these feelings of depression and anger come out, and then he...