Holden Caulfield's Loss

Words: 1801
Pages: 8

Norman Cousins, journalist, once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” When Normal Cousins says this phrase, he wants people to understand that it’s not about who we lost, it’s about what we lost. Throughout the book, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield experiences a loss not only involving the person he loved, but also himself. The author, J.D. Salinger, points out the destructive impacts of loss in his novel The Catcher in the Rye which focuses on the loss experienced by the main character, Holden Caulfield. Throughout the novel, Salinger expresses how loss can negatively impact a person to become depressed, have reckless behavior, and make them detached from others. …show more content…
All the losses that Holden experienced lead him to be depressed, which was revealed through his psychological turmoil. First of all, Holden’s depression is obviously seen as he shows the feeling of hopelessness. For example, Holden realizes that his plan to save the innocence of children is something he can’t do. He realizes this when all the kids from the carousel are trying to grab the rings and Holden can’t stop what happens in the end. This is seen when Holden says, “If they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off” (211). Holden finally realizes that he’s powerless towards everything around him. He first thought that he could save children’s innocence, like the catcher in the rye, by saving them from falling off the cliff of growing up. However, he thinks that every child will end up going through adulthood, leaving their innocence behind. Holden becomes depressed when he realizes that he can’t be the catcher in the rye because he can’t save children from future losses that they will experience. Secondly, because Allie died, Holden thought that it was unfair to him that he was the one to lose someone important to him; making him see the bad things in life, a pessimistic view of life, which lead him to see the bad things in life. For example, when Holden ends up sleeping over at Mr. Antolini’s house, he explains how he “woke up and found him patting [him]. The more [he] thought about it, though the more depressed and screwed up about it [he] got” (194). This shows how Holden prefers to assume the bad things in life, so he sees the bad things in people instead of the good. This shows that he’s depressed because people who are usually depressed never see the positive things in their life. Instead, they see the negative aspect of life and change their perspective to only thinking