As teenagers grow up and experience the world and changes around them, they go through all different sorts of feelings and emotions. Those feelings and emotions are illustrated in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden, the main character, is growing up and experiencing the world around him. He is a universal teenager because he represents the troubles that most teenagers often go through when they're growing up.
Like all teenagers at one point in their life, Holden was completely at rock bottom. Being a teenager isn't easy. Everything around you is changing and sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the changes. For some people, it can be a very emotional time. Holden has no control of his emotions, like the average teen who's experiencing a hard time. A lot of things seem troublesome when you're a teenager. "Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway" (Salinger 122). When you're at the bottom, it feels like there's no way out and nothing will ever go the way you want. Anything you think will go your way, may not. And I think that's what Holden means when he mentions putting certain things in a large glass case. He wants to hold onto something that will never change. Every teenager who is going through a hard time wishes the same. Although when you're at the bottom, the only way you can go is up. And when you go up, everything will go the way you want and you won't have to worry about things changing.
I also believe Holden is a universal teenager because he admits that he was going through a phase and I think every teenager goes through a phase in their life. ""Look, sir. Don't worry about me." I said. "I mean it. I'll be all right. I'm just going through a phase right now. Everybody goes through phases and all, don't they?"" (Salinger 15). I believe all teenagers who are going through depression refer to it as a phase. Even though Holden said "It depressed me" a lot, he never once really admitted he was depressed and in need of help. He may have been scared to admit it to himself and ask for help, which most teenagers are. A lot of people don't really understand the troubles that teenager endure, so that's why it's important Holden is a universal teenager. He's proof that this stuff does happen to teenagers and there is help. It's important that Holden is known as a universal teenager because he illustrates everything a teenager goes through and how they cope with it all.