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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what is the significance of Mr. Spencer's...

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booksarefun1 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2012 at 12:03 AM via web

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In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what is the significance of Mr. Spencer's question about Holden's telling his parents that he has been kicked out of school?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 11, 2012 at 7:49 PM (Answer #1)

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Mr. Spencer is one of Holden's teachers who makes one last effort to talk some reason into the boy before he gets kicked out of school. Mr. Spencer has been a teacher for a long time and knew that after he asked if the school had contacted Holden's parents that it was important to see if Holden had any plans of contacting them as well. This scene foreshadows the fact that Holden never contacts his parents; in fact, he contacts everyone but!  It is part of how Salinger shows that the parents also seem like they are untouchable or unattainable from Holden's perspective. The fact that he doesn't contact them suggests that the relationship is not one based on trust or mutual respect.

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