Sadness permeates The Catcher in the Rye. Main character Holden Caulfield finds nearly everything depressing, from receiving gifts to hearing people say "please." The conclusion drawn, however, is that isolation and alienation from others is the greatest source of unhappiness. The difficulty comes from the fact that escaping this isolation is a battle in itself – one that can often be, unfortunately, quite depressing.
Isolation is the greatest source of Holden's melancholy in The Catcher in the Rye.
The more Holden connects to other people in The Catcher in the Rye, the more depressed he becomes.