The novel’s ending is ambiguous. It is unclear whether Holden will fulfill the promise of recovery that is suggested as he watches the carousel.
Holden’s final statement—“Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody”—
suggests that he is still shackled by the same problems he has dealt with throughout the book.
He still seems scared and alone, and he continues to dread communication.
On the other hand, his final words suggest that he has begun to shed the impenetrable skin of cynicism that he had grown around himself. He has begun to value, rather than dismiss, the people around him. His nostalgia—“missing everybody”—reveals that he is not as bitter and repressed as he was earlier in the book.