Between page 105 and the end of the book, I started to notice something very interesting about Holden. I observed that when talking about a bad relationship he has with someone, always refers to that person as someone he doesnt like. He makes it seem as though that person could never dislike him. Throughout the entire book, I dont recall him every telling us the listener, that someone didnt like him. I found this odd. Why does Holden do this? Its probably very unlikely that every person he meets likes him. In fact, we know this is not true. Why would Stradlater have gotten in a fight with him if this was true? Why does Holden try and hide this? This is what I dont understand. I think that another reoccurring factor in the way that Holden acts is the idea that hes trying to be more mature. Could he possibly think that more mature people get along with everyone? he may be trying to fit in with a mature crowd of people by saying that everyone gets along with him, and he is the only one who finds people intolerable. I think that the need to fit in with older people is a major driving force holden retains throughout the entire book.
Some of this attitude is also caused by an ego that Holden possesses. I think that Holden feels that no one could not like him. He thinks very highly of himself which is good, but it sometimes gets in the way of him telling the story. He tries to block out the people that really dont like him, by trying not to talk about them. If he mentions their name, he usually tells you he doesnt want to talk about that anymore by switching to a different subject, or he calls them a name.
Another thing I would like to address, is the relationship Holden has with his parents verses the relationship he has with Phoebe, his sister. These relationships are very different from one another. With Phoebe, Holden can admit to his downfalls and act more like a kid. He can tell her whats wrong and really open up by telling her what hes really thinking. Holdens relationship with his parents is much different. For example, when he snuck home, he avoided his parents by taking every possible precaution. When he got to his sisters room, he went in and started moving around, waking her up. But he didnt care, he started talking to her. He cant be up front with his parents. He feels he has to be secretive and avoid every possible confrontation. I feel that this is also yet another example of Holdens two opposing personalities. When Holden is with Phoebe, he feels as though he can relax and be who he really is. When he is with his parents, he feels he has to act like an adult, or more mature than he really is. He wants to hide the fact that he got expelled from Pencey, even though they already got the letter. This makes no sense to me. He tries to act mature, yet he cowers away from standing up to his parents and accepting that what happened, happened. Holden is a very interesting character. For the way that he acts around his parents, and for the way that he doesnt clue you in on the reasons why people may not like him.
There are many different aspects of Holdens personality, many of these perspectives are confusing, which add to the mystery. We cant actually know for sure who Holden really is because the story is told from his point of view. But, we can make inferences judging from what we read in the book.