What are Holden's reasons for disliking the school in J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye?

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Holden has been expelled from other expensive boarding schools, so it is clear he has issues with school itself. Pencey is just the latest failure.

Holden, who tries to live authentically, doesn't seem to be able to adapt to what he feels are the phony cultures of his school. First,...

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Holden has been expelled from other expensive boarding schools, so it is clear he has issues with school itself. Pencey is just the latest failure.

Holden, who tries to live authentically, doesn't seem to be able to adapt to what he feels are the phony cultures of his school. First, the academics—except for writing, which he enjoys—bore him. Second, he dislikes the phony people he encounters, such as his roommate Stradlater. Further, he loathes what he considers the phony alums who come back and lecture the boys about "success" and following Jesus.

Adding to his other issues, Holden is depressed and upset about the death of his brother Allie. He has survivor's guilt, and the routines of school seem even more meaningless to him. He wants a level of connection and purpose that school doesn't appear to provide.

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This is a good question. It is probably good to start with the observation that Holden does not like school at all. It is true that he does not like Pency, but he has gotten kicked out of four other schools before this one. In light of this, it is safe to assume that school is not for him. 

Second, it is pretty clear that Holden is not a good student. At the beginning of the book, he is notified that he will be expelled from school due to his failing marks. He just failed four courses. This is not to say that Holden is unintelligent, but that he has no inclination or desire for academic book study. 

Third, Holden does not like his classmates such as Stradlater. One of the most commonly used words is "phony." Holden sees the phoniness of al the people around him. He is pretty insightful. Ironically, he does not see this in himself. 

Finally, Holden is at a juncture in his life, where he is filled with rebellion. For this reason, he does not like school in particular and authority in general. 

 

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