Over the course of these chapters, we see Holden come to the breaking point of his life. He is overrun with emotions and is slowly going unstable. He constantly uses defense mechanisms to try to cover up his true feelings of stress and anxiety. There are four aspects to his issues in life and they’re the death of his younger brother, his classmate, his trouble in school, and his unknown love for Jane.
I believe that the death of Holden’s younger brother was the starting point to all his problems. He deeply cares for him and not being able to attend his funeral shows that Holden never really got to say goodbye. In his mind, he lost the only “real” person in his life (and there is nothing more than Holden hates than phonies). Whenever Holden is upset he brings up Allie. He is stuck in a never ending cycle and refuses to accept his death. Although, at this point, there is only one person who can help Holden, and that is himself. Sadly, Holden remains unmotivated and continues to blame others.
Most of the people around Holden try to motivate him to put effort into his life, school, and grades. Especially his history teacher Mr. Spencer. He once told Holden, “I’d like to put some sense in that head of yours. I’m trying to help you. I’m trying to help you if I can” (Salinger, 14). Despite all the encouragement he gets from others and his sister Phoebe, he just can’t seem to “put himself out there”.
I get a feeling that the whole reason Holden refuses to accept the kindness of others is that he is just simply afraid of getting hurt again. He lost the one person he truly liked and doesn’t talk to the girl he is in love with. He has this barrier set up around him only to protect himself from getting hurt and getting too attached.