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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Holden does not say whether or not he likes Ackley. His description of Ackley is not complimentary, but they seek each other out because they are both outsiders in the school community. Holden seems to understand that Ackley has developed his cynical, caustic, negative attitude because he has no friends at school and is probably unwanted at home. Expensive boarding schools are often places where parents send children to get rid of them. The fathers are involved with making money and the mothers with social activities. They rationalize their rejection by telling themselves that the schools must be great places for education and character-building because they are so expensive and because the ads in the slick, upper-class magazines make the schools look so attractive. Holden can empathize with Ackley. They are both unwanted children. Holden has a similar hostile attitude toward the school and the other students. No matter how expensive or exclusive a boarding school may be, it is not a home but an institution.

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The Catcher in the Rye

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