Chapters 2 & 3
At Mr. Spencer's house, he finds that his teacher is in a sickly condition but still willing to see him and speak with him. In an attempt to shock Holden into pulling himself together, he reads out one of Holden's history answers, which was very poorly constructed, but Holden was already fully aware of this. Soon Holden looses concentration and his mind wanders. Wishing to escape from the Spencer's' home, he invents an excuse. He even turning down a cup of Mrs. Spencer's famous hot chocolate. We are told that the Spencer's are elderly, but the narrator may exaggerate this.
Holden returns to Pencey Prep to find his dormitory room empty and
He relaxes with a good book – Isak Dinsen’s ‘Out of Africa’, but Robert Ackley who rooms next door and who ruins the mood of the moment disturbs him. Ward Stradlater, Holden’s roommate comes in soon after from a football game.
We obtain the first indications that although Holden condemns certain
characteristics of the world at large, these very characteristics are evident in his own persona. He should act more maturely instead of like a 12-year old (narrator is 17 years old), smokes too much, is a
habitual liar and he should care more about school.
Holden’s dormitory is in the Ossenburger Memorial Wing. Ossenburger
was a mortician and ran a chain of funeral parlors throughout the country and was just the sort of establishment ‘phony’, which Holden loved to mock suggesting that Ossenburger probably supplied a very shabby
Holden despises phonies, even considering his brother D.B. to be one by accepting the big pay check to write movies, rather than doing what he is best at, writing short stories. Unfortunately for Holden phonies surround him in his prep school and the ever-grooming Ackley and self-centered Stradlater who act as his immediate contrasts. Despite their obvious flaws, he acts kindly towards them, even agreeing to write Stradlater’s English essay for him.