You’d expect a seventeen-year-old boy to be a lot more interested in sex than death, but… not Holden. Can you blame him? His younger brother died of leukemia four years before we meet him. He witnesses a young boy’s suicide at prep school. And then there’s the whole little problem of World War II. It seems like one of Holden’s major issues in Catcher in the Rye is that people—phonies—go around pretending like major tragedies don’t happen every day: they cry at sad movies, but they don’t cry about the atomic bomb. No wonder he thinks his screenwriter brother D.B. is such a phony.
Holden has a major death wish.
Holden is only obsessed with death and mortality because he cherishes life so much.