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What are the names of the schools that Holden got kicked out of in Catcher in the Rye?

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qlucas | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2012 at 4:52 AM via web

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What are the names of the schools that Holden got kicked out of in Catcher in the Rye?

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Douglas Horley | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:48 PM (Answer #2)

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Early in the novel Holden meets his history teacher Mr Spencer to discuss his very poor exam paper and why he 'flunked' history. During this meeting we learn that not only will he be leaving his current school Pencey due to failing all but one subject, but that he has dropped out of two previous schools,

"If I'm not mistaken, I believe you also had some difficulty at the Whooton School and at Elkton Hills." He didn't say it just sarcastic, but sort of nasty, too. (p. 17)

 We could assume that both those schools were also both elite private schools. We learn more about Holden's character at this point as he insists that he didn't flunk at his last school, Elkton Hills, and then muses to himself that he left because he was "surrounded by phonies" (p.14) - a motif which is repeated often throughout the novel.

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:01 PM (Answer #3)

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The previous answer correctly states the names of the schools that Holden leaves, for one reason or another. At Pencey, his latest school, it seems like he simply didn't apply himself and so he's been kicked out.

However, as a general thing it seems that Holden struggles less with the academic side of things in schools than with the social. He feels like he's surrounded by 'phonies' all the time, both among teachers and among his peers: insincere types, boring types, self-satisfied types, and so on. He attempts to explain his departure from all those schools later to his kid sister Phoebe, although he thinks that maybe she can't understand. However, it is enough that she listens:

 But she was listening, at least. If someone at least listens, it's not too bad.

Of course, Holden's complaint about his schools being full of phonies is maybe only a cover for his own inadequacies. He certainly does seem to struggle a good deal with making connections with his peers and authority figures, even taking into account the fact that he is in the throes of adolescence. The only people he seems able to get on with are his own family, at least his siblings: he remembers his dead brother Allie with excessive fondness, and gets on well with his little sister, Phoebe, and also obviously respects his older brother, D.B.

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