In J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, what can you infer about Holden's character through his note to Mr. Spencer?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The note that Holden writes to his teacher, Mr. Spencer, is later read together in order to get an emotionally charged response--a response that hopefully brings the student to his senses. Holden seems honest in his note when he admits that he's not interested in the Egyptians. He even seems to take responsibility for his disinterest when he says, "I can't seem to get very interested in them" (12). He also shows respect for authority by complimenting Mr. Spencer's lectures in class. But the real confession reveals more of Holden's character one paragraph later when Holden says to the reader, "I'd only written the **** note so he wouldn't feel too bad for flunking me" (12). Based on the textual evidence, one could infer that Holden truly cares about other people's feelings. He also does not want to be the reason that anyone feels bad about having to make difficult decisions because of Holden's weaknesses.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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