The protagonist in "The Catcher in the Rye" is Holden Caulfield, a native New Yorker and a complex sixteen-year-old. Under unique circumstances that defy easy adult description, he departs from his Pennsylvania prep school and hides in New York City for three days. Holden is a character whose simplicity and complexity simultaneously defy definitive assessment. What we can assert about him and his story, though, is that he was born into a world deeply drawn to beauty, almost to the point of being ensnared by it.
Within this novel, various voices emerge, including those of children, adults, and the underground. However, it's Holden's voice that stands out as the most eloquent. He transcends his own way of speaking while staying remarkably true to it, releasing a cry that skillfully blends pain and pleasure. Yet, much like those of many lovers, clowns, and poets of the highest order, he largely keeps his pain to himself, sharing or setting aside his pleasure with great generosity. It's a gift that awaits the reader capable of embracing it.