“It’s not the last straw which broke the camel’s back.”
In J.D. Salanger’s, Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has many mental breakdowns. Though it may not have been one solitary event that pushed him off the edge, the one thing that started the whole ordeal was his brother Allie’s death. ”He’s dead now. He got leukemia and died when we were up in Maine, on July 18, 1946” (p. 38)
Holden refers to his brother multiple times in the novel, showing how much impact Allie had on his life. Holden still will not believe that his brother is truly gone, an unhealthy feeling for such an adolescent. He still continues to talk to his brother, especially when he is depressed and longs for the “good old days” when his brother was still alive and his problems were not so severe.
Holden does not believe that it is he who is going insane, but it is the rest of the world who has lost their mind for failing to see the hopelessness of their own lives. Leukemia did not only kill Allie in a way it also killed Holden. Leukemia is a disease that does not kill you directly; it shuts down your immune system causing smaller things, which do not harm most people, to eventually kill you because your body can not fend for itself. This is a metaphor of Holden’s breakdown.
Because Holden was so close to Allie when he died, he does not know what to feel about people anymore. He begins to grow a fear of commitment, and has trouble relating to his peers and working hard to attain goals. He worked hard to form such a close relationship with his brother, and what does he get from that? Pain when it does not work out the way he had hoped. Holden not only has a “fear” of what he is experiencing right now, but also is confused and scared about what is to come. Holden is afraid of what is to happen to him, not only death, but of his importance and impact he has on others. “Every time I’d get to the end of a block I’d make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I’d say to...