Mr. isn’t too fond of Ackley, but

Mr. SpencerTo Holden Caulfield, Mr. Spencer is someone he feel pity for. However, in The Catcher in the Rye, Mr. Spencer moreso represents the way adults tend to view Holden, and how Holden views adults, himself, and authority in general. The basis of the views stem from one thing: a lack of understanding. While Holden does take the time to visit Mr. Spencer before he leaves, he doesn’t view him with that much respect at all. Holden believes that if you think about Mr. Spencer too much, “you wondered what the heck he was still living for” (Salinger 9). There’s not much to Mr.  Spencer. He is a teacher and an elderly man. Holden is not either of these things, and because of this, he can’t understand why Mr. Spencer would choose to live any longer. However, Mr. Spencer also doesn’t seem to understand that Holden is grappling with the instability he sees for the future. Instead, Mr. Spencer would like to “put some sense in Holden’s head” and that he’s “trying to help him, if he can” (Salinger 18). But Holden doesn’t want help from this man who he feels pity for. Why would he? Spencer believes that life is a game and Holden is simply bad at playing it, but Holden just sees that he is on the wrong side of the game. He is not a hot-shot, and “if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then whats a game about life? Nothing. There is no game” (Salinger 11). Holden does not want to end up like Mr. Spencer, an adult with a phony life and phony authority.2. Ackley Holden claims that he dislikes Ackley, but he dislikes a lot of people. Instead, it seems like Holden is not really as judgemental and negative as he seems to think he is.  Holden’s initial stance on Ackley is that Ackley was “sort of a nasty guy” and that Holden isn’t “too crazy about him” if he’s telling the truth (Salinger 23). However, through the course of the Catcher in the Rye, Holden reveals himself to a be a serial liar. He claims that he isn’t too fond of Ackley, but he still ‘shoots the bull’ with Ackley, and spends a lot of time with Ackley for someone who supposedly dislikes him. Either Holden is a martyr, or he actually doesn’t mind Ackley. Additionally, when Holden fights with Stradlater, he decides to go see Ackley and attempts to spend the night there. While he’s there, he isn’t just looking for a place to spend the night, he tries to start conversation with Ackley. Holden asks him to “tell him the story of his fascinating life” and inquires into “the routine for joining a monastery” (Salinger 55, 56). Both of these times, Ackley shuts him down and tries to go back to sleep, but Holden still tries to start conversation.


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