3 pages/≈825 words
Literature & Language
Mental Health in Catcher in the Rye (Essay Sample)
THIS TASK REQUIRED A THOROUGH REVIEW OF J. D. SALLINGER'S MESSAGE BY CHOOSING ONE OF THE TOPICS AMONG; REBELLION & CONFORMITY, ISOLATION & ALIENATION, MENTAL HEALTH, TRUTH VS. LIES, INNOCENCE AND PRIVILEGE. HAVING GONE WITH MENTAL HEALTH, THE SAMPLE EVALUATES MENTAL HEALTH AS DEPICTED THROUGH HOLDEN IN THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. THE SAMPLE IS AN ANALYSIS OF HOLDEN.S EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY INFLUENCE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEME OF THE NOVEL and its similarities to the coming of age genre. source..
Name Course Instructor Date Mental Health in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a fictional novel that takes us through the experiences of Holden Caulfield, the seventeen-year-old narrator and protagonist of the novel as is typical in the coming-of-age genre. The author in the piece of art captures the readers’ attention from the beginning with his interactive and unconventional style of writing. Holden narrates a series of events that happened within two days when he was 16 years and about to leave pre-school after being kicked out yet again due to poor performance, rebellion, and a lack of interest in doing what was expected of him. He ends up leaving school before the start of Christmas break, rents out cheap accommodation in New York before eventually returning home where his mental health deteriorates, and he is admitted in a sanitarium from where he tells the story. Through Holden’s experiences, Salinger illustrates the hidden traumas that quietly affect people's mental health and their overall behavior which if not addressed can result in suicidal thoughts and depression. Brief Summary Holden Caulfield is a troubled teenager who has gotten kicked out of three preschools. He tends to isolate himself from common events such as the Saturday game which he is watching from the top of a hill. Caulfield is an avid reader who likes to see the authors of his favorite books as close friends. This character always seems unbothered by his academic performance and being kicked out of school. After a scuffle with his roommate, he decides to leave for New York where he rents a hotel instead of going home. The character is also a self-reported liar who finds a way to lie to someone several times. While at the hotel, he gets himself beaten by a pimp leaving him miserable and powerless. In that moment of despair, he does contemplate suicide claiming, “What I really felt like, though, is committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window” (58). Holden is a compassionate person who cares for the well-being of others. Through the series of events in the novel, one can tell that Holden is a troubled individual struggling with grief and life changes. Analysis and Evaluation Grief Death is a major life event that results in emotional and mental turmoil. Holden’s younger brother Allie died of Leukemia on July 18, 1956 (22). Holden has stored his brother's baseball mitt with poems written on it. He cherishes the mitt as a symbol of having his brother close to him. Holden used to talk to Allie when he was feeling depressed. Allie's death was weighing heavily on Holden, fueling his morbid thoughts and perhaps his desire to protect those he thought to be innocent since he could not protect his brother. Poor performance in school Depression can cause one to lose interest in both themselves and their environment. When asked by Mr. Spencer about his concerns for the future, Holden responds that he has some concerns but not too much (9). Holden’s defiance, constant need to lie "I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life" (10), and lack of interest in receiving any help with the school could be interpreted as symptoms of depression. His self-reported depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts show that he needs help. Hopefully, after completing treatment in the mental health hospital, Holden will change his perspective on success, return to school and stop wasting his privilege. Feeling Lost Feelings of loss and no sense of purpose can be symptoms of depression. Holden is emotionally unstable and constantly fixating on Allie’s death. On one night, he gets too drunk, ignoring people’s advice to go home, and instead visits central park where he worries about the ducks, Allie in the cemetery, and what would happen to his family if he passed away. Holden is also constantly claiming to be depressed in the novel, “And I think I was more depressed than I ever was in my whole life” (105). Holden is therefore struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally. Salinger makes the reader ...
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