Given Holden Caulfield's destructive, negative personality, his mental illness, and distaste for mainstream American culture, one could argue that he does indeed have a latent death wish. Holden is a mentally-unstable adolescent, who is traumatized by the death of his younger brother and has witnessed his classmate, James Castle, commit suicide at Elkton Hills. Holden is extremely neurotic, hypercritical, and immature. He lacks social skills, is overwhelmed with anxiety and grief, and has no direction in life. Holden even suggests that he has been sexually molested by an adult and frequently speaks to his dead brother, Allie, when he experiences nervous breakdowns. The fact that Holden tells his tragic story from the confines of a sanatorium is significant and emphasizes the seriousness of his mental instability. Holden continually experiences conflicting emotions and his lack of self-perspective negatively affects his mindset. Given Holden's traumatic past, destructive personality, extreme loneliness, and mental instability, one could argue that he has a latent death wish.