I googled defense mechanisms, and clicked on the first link that wasn’t from Wikipedia: “15 Common Defense Mechanisms.” As I waited impatiently for the page to load, my mind wandered back to yesterday’s English class. My teacher had asked, “Did you research defense mechanisms?” There were nods all around, and a general murmur of assent. I pretended I did, too, and nodded along with everyone else. “Well, by the end of The Catcher in the Rye, Holden will have used all these defense mechanisms.” Huh. Maybe I should have done the homework…
I skimmed through the web page. There were a lot of defense mechanisms. “Holden is a very messed up kid,” my teacher’s voice echoed in my mind. No kidding. I hated the book. It had only been 3 chapters, but I found Holden’s character to be despicable. Fifteen defense mechanisms? How messed up could he be? I looked at the book in disgust.
We finished the Catcher in the Rye in about 2 weeks. I hated it. By the end of the book, Holden had used all 15 of those defense mechanisms.
And so had I.