Mr. Spencer

Outer characterization

Mr. Spencer is an important character in J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. He is Holden’s history teacher at Pencey and one of the adults Holden likes and respects – “he was a nice old guy” (p. 8). Mr. Spencer is “around seventy years old, or even more than that” (p. 7) and, at the time Holden visits him to say goodbye, he is sick with the flu. 

Holden sees him “sitting in a big leather chair” (p. 7), wrapped in a blanket, and dressed in “this very sad, ratty old bathrobe that he was probably born in or something” (p. 8). His appearance and his nose-picking habits disgust Holden, who is put off by Mr. Spencer’s illness and the depressing state of the old man’s room. 

Inner characterization

Mr. Spencer is concerned about Holden’...

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