The Catcher in the Rye Related to Suicide
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is similar to the news we see today. In the news, we frequently hear of teenagers committing suicide because of bullying. In Salinger’s book the protagonist witnesses a young boy’s suicide at prep. The young boy being discussed is James Castle. James Castle was one of Holden Caulfield’s classmates in Elkton Hills. Although they were classmates they never talked to each other except for one time. He only talked to Holden to ask him if he can borrow his sweater. The protagonist gave his sweater to James, but never got it back. Anyway, one day a group of kids were bullying James and went in his room. James couldn’t take it anymore with the name calling so he stood up for himself and said something back to the people that were bullying him. Then out of nowhere he jumped out of his window while wearing Holden’s sweater. I am positively sure he was afraid of what the boys would have done to him if he stayed there. So he just decided to end his life at that moment. Salinger might have included this moment to show what society is capable of doing to people, especially teens.
The book does not explain if James Castle was ever thinking of killing himself, but the book does show the readers what Holden was thinking. From the novel one can see that Holden Caulfield also wanted to commit suicide. He hated phonies and everything else on the earth. For this reason, he left the school. To him Elkton Hills was full of phonies, especially those people that lead to James Castle’s death. Holden Caulfield and James Castle are similar and Castle’s incident shows that James and Holden were going through the same problems. To show this idea the author decided to include that James jumped out of the window while wearing Holden’s sweater. The protagonist started having problems with the people after his little brother passed away. When he died Holden’s life ended. He did not want to do anything anymore. He could not commit suicide because he knew he could not leave his sister behind.