“Old Selma Thurmer... I liked her.”
What is it about Selma that Holden likes? What does his appreciation for her reveal about his character?
Holden likes that Selma, like Phoebe, enjoys quality movies and art. That Holden values people who exhibit similar characteristics to Phoebe is indicative of both his admiration and longing for his sister, and the childhood she represents to him.
Holden likes how Selma was never afraid to hold hands during their elementary school trips to the museum. Holden's nostalgia for holding hands with Selma reveals how desperate Holden is for human connection, and the void he feels in light of his isolation.
Holden appreciates how Selma took his elementary school class on trips to the museum, and the fact that “she never got sore.” Holden's remark demonstrates his appreciation for adults who show kindness and patience toward children; he explains that adults with such traits aren't “phonies.”
Holden likes how empathetic Selma is toward others. He particularly admired how Selma, unlike nearly everyone else he knew at Pencey, was always nice to Ackley.
Holden likes Selma's authenticity. He particularly appreciates how Selma never went out of her way to defend her dad's reputation, because, as Holden surmises, Selma was probably aware of her father's phoniness.