Homework Help

What does Holden mean when he says "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you...

soccer21's profile pic

Posted via web

dislike 2 like

What does Holden mean when he says "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody"?

7 Answers | Add Yours

pmiranda2857's profile pic

Posted (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

When Holden makes this statement, he means that once you get close to someone and depend on them for emotional support and you have a real connection, you can really miss that person, because they can leave you. People leave, they die, they are unreliable.

Holden technically has lost both his brothers. Allie, his younger brother died, and D.B. has left and gone to California. He feels very distant from D.B., because he thinks he is a sell-out, writing movie scripts instead of serious books. Two people Holden really needs in his life are gone.

Jane Gallagher, the girl that Holden really cares about, she seems far away to him. He misses her too, even though all he has to do is call her. He can't or he won't, and because of this inability to get close to someone, other than his sister, he suffers from isolation.

He fears sharing his feelings with anyone; he has developed a protection strategy, don't get close to anyone and you are safe. He is seriously misguided in this belief, and because of it, he has an emotional breakdown.

lichen2347's profile pic

Posted (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

He fears sharing his feelings with anyone; he has developed a protection strategy, don't get close to anyone and you are safe. He is seriously misguided in this belief, and because of it, he has an emotional breakdown.

 

you're welcome

Wiggin42's profile pic

Posted (Answer #5)

dislike 1 like

This is Holden's coping strategy. This explains why he cannot have empathy for others. He is so afraid of losing people that refuses to truly make a connection with them. This is because Holden is still grieving for Allie. Its similar to how he asks the cab driver about the ducks leaving the pond. Where do they go? Where do the people who leave him go? Holden is obsessed with people leaving him all alone. That is why he said that. 

atyourservice's profile pic

Posted (Answer #6)

dislike 1 like

When Holden says "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody." He is talking about the fact that when you start opening up to people, it builds a certain connection. The more connections you build the more likely you are to miss people. He thinks it is better to not build a relationship in the first place, if all it leads to is being abandoned. This mindset helps us understand why Holden seems to act as he does. As you can see Holden always keeps from forming bonds, and often jeopardizes the relationships that are already present.

Educator Approved

Educator Approved
enki's profile pic

Posted (Answer #7)

dislike 1 like

I disagree with some of the above. In the appraisals of Holden's aversion to forming relationships, I think they are quite accurate. Furthermore, the assessment of his relationships as a consequence of the loss of his brother(s) is undeniable.

My only argument here is that I find the final line to be an optimistic line; foreshadowing of an inevitable progress in Holden's perspective. He is admitting that he has feelings and cares for the people that he has insisted on referring to as phonies and irrelevant and insignificant. In our last interaction with Holden, we see him acknowledging his feelings, rather than hiding from them.

All of his broken relationships and isolation was the result of him hiding from his pain and refusing to admit that he cared for people. Here, he admits that he cares; and in that, we can see the potential for his development.

fedteach's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

You start missing everybody because you are so busy trying to tell your own story you don't listen to others and their stories.

sabonator101's profile pic

Posted (Answer #4)

dislike -1 like

uhm. dunno :P

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes