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Word Count: 325
In this chapter Salinger continues to develop the history of Holden Caulfield in direct contradiction of the opening statement that the novel is not his life story Salinger gradually indicates that Caulfield has a longer history and troubles that are more deeply rooted than the conventional disaffected teenager as he moves from boarding school to boarding school with no sense of purpose Even Holdens style of narration reveals this lack of any coherent vision He admits that he cannot concentrate on any particular topic thinking about ice skating while Mr Spencer lectures him As established in the previous chapter Holden exemplifies typical teenage feelings of alienation He rejects the idea that life is a game convinced that he is a misunderstood underdog an unlikely scenario for a teenager privileged enough to move easily among eastern prep schools and justifies his immaturity by claiming that he is going through a phase His critiques are glib and without actual substance such as his insistence that other are phonies or his dislike of certain phrases such as good luck Holdens diatribes against phonies are particularly instructive although he insists upon authenticity he humors and flatters Mr Spencer by agreeing with him Holden demonstrates a great aversion for everything associated with adulthood such as the smell of Vicks Nose Drops that permeates Mr Spencers home and the behavior of Mr Haas just as he occupies a precarious space between childhood and the adult world In appearance he is an adult with his tall stature and prematurely graying hair yet as he and others around him realize he is still quite immature Yet Salinger rejects the idea that Holdens behavior is typical and excusable adolescent behavior He is not Mr Spencer shatters this illusion by dismissing Holdens vague justifications for his behavior and confronting him with his failures Mr Spencer confronts Holden with his own failures and solipsistic attitude a critique to which Holden cannot respond
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