What does Holden think of Pencey Prep?

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Salinger'sThe Catcher in the Ryebegins with Holden's expulsion from his boarding school, Pency Prep.  Having passed only English, we learn that he will not be allowed back for the next term. Holden, always critical of others, does not spare Pency of his criticism.  Convinced that most of the people around him are phonies, he points to the school's fake advertisements and student body.

"They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hot shot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time.  I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place." (Ch 1.)

As he describes his fellow classmates and the school's teachers, Holden's disdain for the school is further illustrated as he seeks to point out their phony behaviors.  Ackley is his pimply faced annoying next door neighbor who lies about his experiences with girls.  Stradlater is his roommate is popular and attractive, but Holden believes he is  phony by being a "secret slob". He describes the teachers as apathetic and uncaring. 

When he finally leaves, he yells once more to the school

“Sleep tight, ya morons!”

His final insult to his school.


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