Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye by J. Sallinger suffers from a mental and emotional breakdown that is shown throughout the novel. Holden's depression is illustrated in different ways. In particular, the death of his younger brother Allie, relationship with Jane and other fellow students or roommates, love and sexual life, and troubles in school are the main reasons to his depression. These examples of Holden's depression are clear symptoms of mental and emotional breakdown. Throughout the course of the novel, Holden shows all these symptoms of mental and emotional breakdown. .
One of the first steps that triggered Holden's breakdown is the death of his younger brother Allie that died from leukemia three years before Holden tell his story from the rest home. Throughout the novel, Holden brings up Allie when he is upset, depressed, and scared. For instance, Holden is waking up in Fifth Avenue and he suddenly feels he would not "get to the other side of the street" (pg.197). Holden starts talking to his brother Allie, "I'd say to him, "Allie, don't let me disappear. Please Allie" (pg.198). This passage conveys a significant symbol/ message about Holden's mental breakdown because it illustrates how lonely Holden feels that he continuously to pretend talking to a being who is not present. Holden talking to Allie offers a valuable insight into Holden's loneliness and need for love. Seemingly, Holden tries to talk to Allie whenever he is depressed or when Holden wants to express his thoughts and feelings, which somehow helps Holden to get over his depression. Holden appears to use Allie to shield him from reality. Furthermore, Holden writes about Allies baseball mitt for Stradlater's composition. Writing about Allies baseball mitt shows how Holden is still attached to Allie. Yet, Holden talking to Allie is pretty crazy itself which clarifies Holden is still not over the fact he lost the only "real" person he ever knew.