Critics disagree about Holden's motivation. In The Catcher in the Rye: Innocence Under Pressure (published by Simon & Schuster), Sanford Pinsker appreciates the humor of the encounter but sees "disguised hostility" in Holden. Is Caulfield mean-spirited here, or is he merely trying to make Mrs. Morrow feel good? We know that Holden can be cruel, as evidenced, for example, by his fascination with Ackley's physical shortcomings (his problems with acne, his round-shouldered homeliness). On the surface, Holden seems to be kind to Mrs. Morrow, telling us that he likes her. We might fast forward, however, to the conversation that soon may take place between Mrs. Morrow and Ernest. She most likely will learn that Rudolf Schmidt is the janitor, and she will know that she has been tricked by the boy she met on the train. Is Holden sufficiently aware to realize this, or is he just
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