~ This post may include spoilers ~
“But what I mean is, lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most. I mean you can’t help it sometimes. What I think is, you’re supposed to leave somebody alone if he’s at least being interesting and he’s getting all excited about something. I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice” (Salinger).
Holden Caulfield spends a majority of the novel trying to be heard. No woman in a bar, taxicab driver, prostitute, teacher, or nun in a restaurant at any point feeds Holden the reassurance he’s after. Adulthood worries him. Loss of innocence is his unspoken fear.
I like what he says to Mr. Antolini in the passage above. Holden has a problem with his Oral Expression class because by creating such strict limitations on the students’s speeches, Mr. Vinson is prohibiting them from exploring their own thoughts. To Holden, this means specifically being forced to hide his insecurities, quiet his mind, and pretend like everything is okay- three things that Holden has never seemed to be capable of.
One of my favorite things about Holden is his sympathy. “I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It’s nice.” He says this more like a little kid than a sixteen-year-old boy; as if it’s an authentication of his still childlike mentality.