EXPLORATORY ESSAY on Catcher In The Rye using outside sources





Exploratory Essay on Catcher in the Rye Using Outside Sources


At one time in life, people experience depression of a kind that could affect their lives in a positive or negative way. How people cope with depression determines whether it will be harmful, or they could learn from its experience. In the novel ‘Catcher in the Rye,’ the protagonist, Holden, had been expelled out of school and is in another, about to be expelled for the same reason of failing in his exams. He feels that the world is not as it should, and in order to feel superior, he alienates himself from others and engages in a lonely life after dropping out of school. He is faced with a lot of depression that leads him to isolate himself from others, leading to nervous breakdown. Today, many teenagers are faced with a lot of pressure, causing them stress and depression that they find hard to deal with, and some may result to wrong ways of coping with depression, such as abusing of drugs that are harmful to their health, and those who cannot deal with it anymore, result to committing suicide. In most cases, when a person is faced with depression, the best solution is usually to seek help from others through interaction and guidance from professional. Those who find it hard to expose their problems, especially men due to their ego, are faced with a higher risk of depression than women, who seek help.

Suicide is a Teenage Epidemic

According to High (154), the cases of suicide among teenagers has been on the rise, and that “The statistics show that that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among those 15 to 25 years of age.” Furthermore, the statistics show that about half a million teenagers attempt suicide each year, with about 10% succeeding to kill themselves, the male ratio being higher to that of girls. In her article, untreated depression was mentioned as the number one cause of suicide among teenagers, which could be caused by several factors such as death of a family member or a close friend or relative. Some people may not be able to accept losing a loved one and carry the burden of emotions for a long time. Failing important examination in class, physical abuse such as bullying, embarrassing moments among fellow peers, especially at school such as being removed from an important event, and mental and emotional events are among the causes of depression in the young generation. Such factors that cause depression or stress in life will never stop to exist since every day there are new events that we cannot avoid, and they do not always fit to our desires. Coping with these pressures is what determines if they are going to cause depression or harmful stress. “Open and honest discussion is the best prevention for suicide as well as any emotional, or even physical condition” (High 57). In many cases, factors not attended to may cause depression and harmful stress to an individual, resulting to feelings of helplessness and hopeless that cause isolation that cultivates dangerous thoughts.

Relation with Catcher in the Rye

Holden faced pressure from his parents after he was expelled for the first time when he failed four exams out of five and his brother Allie had died, a fact that he did not let go, and in the novel, anger over his death was evident when he broke windowpanes. This makes him feel helpless after he finds out that he will be expelled from the new school for the same reason of failing exams. In order to feel protected from a world that he does not fit in, he alienates himself from the others by trying to be unique to show that he is better than others are, and isolates himself from interacting with others, which further alienates him from the real world. We see Holden ending up suffering from a nervous breakdown due to depression from alienation, which has been attributed to suicide among teenagers in the article. Isolation does not help in coping with depression but rather, it worsens the situation causing more harm. “Because everyone needs to grieve at a loved ones death, lack of communication between friends and family can only hurt a healing heart,” (High 79).

Immortal Song Lyric

This song talks about death of a loved one, where the writer is experiencing fears associated with the loss of a loved one, who took away his life as he or she died. The song starts with the feelings of the person, “I’m so tired of being here, suppressed by all my childish fears

And if you have to leave, I wish that you would just leave. Your presence still lingers here and it won’t leave me alone,” (Evanescence Lyrics 114). After the stanza, he gives the reasons why he feels that way. He wishes that he could forget this loved person, who is not specified, since he or she has already left despite all that they did together. He talks about how much pain he feels and the haunting memories that cannot be erased by time. In the second stanza, he says that, “These wounds won’t seem to heal; this pain is just too real. There is just too much that time cannot erase,” (Evanescence Lyrics 206). This illustrates the depression caused by death of a loved one, when a person feels helplessness and feels like moving on will be impossible. In the last stanza, the writer talks about the happiness that the departed person brought in his life and how his dreams are haunted by the face of the departed one. In this song, one can realize that the writer is angry about being left behind by a loved one, taking his life away from him. This happens regularly to people who loose loved ones that were close to them, causing them much emotional pains.

How the Song Relates to Catcher in the Rye

In Catcher in the Rye, Holden is angry about the death of his brother, and during that day he died, he broke windowpanes due to anger of being left by a loved one. He wrote this in the composition meant for Stradlater, who found it was poor causing Holden to tear it. He had not been in a position to accept the death of his brother, and thought it was due to the neglect of the world that his brother died. In the song, the writer tries to forget the memories of the loved one who died, where he says, “These wounds won’t seem to heal; this pain is just too real. There’s just too much that time cannot erase,” (Evanescence Lyrics1). When the writer says that he wishes that the loved one would go away completely taking all the memories with them illustrates the anger that he feels. This is similar in the case of Holden, who does not let go of the memories of his younger brother.



            This is a poem about denial, depression, written by a teenage about what he felt, where he asks questions about her feelings and what they could be called. She starts by asking, “What do you call it when all you feel is pain? When your loved ones look at you and all you feel is shame?” (Thalia 153). In the third and fourth lines she asks, “When you’re tired of living and playing this game? When you know your life is meaningless and you’re the only one to blame?” (Thalia 142). These questions are illustrations of depression, where the writer is tired of living her life, and all that she feels is pain and shame among her loved one. In the last line of the second stanza, she asks what one can call it when nothing in life makes you happy, and darkness around you grows. This illustrates the how gloomy her life was, and nothing seemed to make sense. In the last stanza, she asks what feelings of loneliness are called, when you do not feel at home in your house, and when you look back in your life and feel that all choices you made are wrong, and when you long for death to come. All this

Relation to Catcher in the Rye

This poem talks about the feelings of a depressed person, when she is asking about what these feelings could be called. The title of the poem, Lost, illustrates feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in the writer, and she does not know what is going through her, except the feelings she feels. Holden, in Catcher in the Rye, does not have an idea that he is going through depression, and instead, thinks that by acting the way he does will make him feel superior. Holden tries to console himself with girls and exploring life after he goes to New York, but instead, does not feel any good about it. The writer of the poem asks, “When nothing makes you happy and the darkness around you grows?” (Thalia 68). This was the same case with Holden, when everything he did made no sense and brought no happiness.



According to Catcher in the Rye, depression can occur to anybody except to the young children who are still innocent, as Holden believed. In the article and the song lyrics, depression is caused by events that happen to a person’s life, and how one copes with it matters to determine its effects. The best way of dealing with depression is seeking help from people through talking about the problems before they become a burden due to prolonged lack of treatment. The poem is slightly different, as it talks about the feelings a depressed person goes through, as Holden did. Some people, like Holden, will feel that isolating themselves from people and indulging in activities such as drinking and abusing drugs substances that lead to addiction is a way of coping. High levels of depression can cause emotional harm to an individual, and in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts can occur when a person feels they can do nothing to change the situation. In the Catcher in the Rye, the story relates to modern events and ways of coping with depression that are used by people who alienate themselves.


Works Cited

Evanescence Lyrics. “My Immortal lyrics.” elyrics.net, 2011. Web. 24 May 2011.

High, Brenda. “Suicide is a Teenage Epidemic.” jaredstory.com, 21 April 2010. Web. 24 May 2011.

Thalia. Lost. familyfriendpoems.com, n.d. Web. 25 May 2011.

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