The Problems With Holden Essay example

Submitted By harlansmart
Words: 1487
Pages: 6

In one’s life, family serves as a quintessential ingredient for living with love and happiness. When taken away from someone, however, family can cause true devastation. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the story is told through the eyes of Holden Caulfield who comes from a wealthy New York family . Throughout Holden’s story, the reader learns that his family’s successes cannot guarantee Holden’s happiness. Holden’s brother Allie, a couple of years younger than him, died three years prior to Holden’s recounting of his story. Holden’s broken hands that he busted in response to Allie’s death clearly show his extreme frustration, but more importantly the monumental amount of care that Holden had for his brother. Holden was not able to reach closure with Allie because he was in the hospital for his hands. In many different parts of the story, evidence points towards the fact that Holden has not gotten over his brother’s death. Holden tells about many other struggles that he encounters, including getting kicked out of several prep schools and having to survive the streets of New York by himself. For a sixteen-year-old boy, Holden is presented with many obstacles early in his life. As the source of his problems, Allie’s death causes Holden’s depression, his rebellious nature, and his desire to stop time. Allie’s death consequently results in a life full of depression for Holden. Holden lost one of the only people in the world whom he cared about: his brother. Several times throughout the story, Holden admits how he feels depressed. Before he leaves his boarding school Pencey Prep, Holden explains, “I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. . . . I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse” (4). Holden feels that proper goodbyes are necessary to achieve closure with something. He explains how if a goodbye is not said, you feel even worse, and he speaks from experience. Holden did not get a chance to properly part from Allie at his funeral. Holden likes the satisfaction in having closure with something, and Allie’s passing away with no “goodbye” deeply depressed him. Later in the book, Holden describes more of the grief he has experienced. When telling about a time after a prostitute left, he says, “I felt so depressed, you can’t even imagine. . . . I started talking, sort of out loud, to Allie. I do that sometimes when I get very depressed” (98). Holden goes on to explain how his conversations consisted of telling Allie to meet him and his friend to shoot BB guns. Holden says how sometimes he did not let Allie go along with him because he was just a child. One can read into Holden’s feelings of guilt for not letting Allie participate in his activities sometimes. Holden imagines conversations with his dead brother when he is severely depressed. Holden admits the horrific state of his depression and how Allie acts as a source of his sorrow. Allie’s death seems to keep the depression circulating in Holden’s head, for Holden cannot find a way to rid himself of this grief-stricken state of mind. Holden’s rebellious nature is apparent throughout the story as he copes for the loss of his brother. The depression takes a toll on Holden as he can be found drinking many times during the story. After a night at the Wicker Bar in New York, Holden, age sixteen, tells the reader, “Boy, I sat at that goddam bar till around one o’clock or so, getting drunk as a bastard. I could hardly see straight” (150). To occupy himself, Holden drinks and smokes to his heart’s content. These rebellious actions may be due to his attempt at escape from reality, from his brother’s death. The rebellious side of Holden was not only shown from his illegal actions, but also from disregarding the adults in his life. While saying goodbye to one of his teachers Mr. Spencer, Holden receives some advice about his future. Mr. Spencer, trying to knock some