The story starts off with Holden Caulfield explaining how he got expelled last christmas from his fourth boarding school, called Pencey Prep. He hasn't told his parents about getting expelled yet but he just needs a few more days to think over what he's going to tell them.
I feel like the story is mostly character vs self because Holden is always pushing people away and is depressed a lot. The pushing people away usually happened in New York. He got really angry with everyone and started calling them phonies. The depression started with Holden's brother, Allie, dying and him not being able to connect with him more.
Now in New York Holden decided to go at a bar and buys some girls some drinks. At this point he realizes that even going to a bar wouldnt make him happier so he starts to call some old friends. After that he gets into a fight with a guy named Maurice and because of that he goes home even more angry and sad.
At this point Holden decides to find his sister Phoebe and tell her about getting expelled from Pencey. After telling her she gives him very good advice and he is now confident enough to tell his parents. Phoebe wants to go with Holden but he wouldn't let her so they get into a big argument and he leaves without telling her and just leaves a note.
Holden first stops at a Museum and helps some lost kids find the Mummy section. On the way home he kept thinking about how he helped them and how he should stop pushing people away.
In the end Holden goes home and tells his parents how he got expelled. He also tells them that he'd reapply to a different school next semester and actually put effort into working hard. Now Holden is happier then before but is still missing Allie.