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Holden leaves Elkton Hills mainly because of the phonies he sees on the prep school campus. He describes them as “coming through the windows” because there are so many. It really is an excuse to “quit” because he was about to be kicked out of Elkton Hills because of his grades. Holden’s obsession with phoniness and phony people is a major theme throughout the novel. When he is at Elkton Hills, he discusses the phoniness of the school’s headmaster, Mr. Haas, and the fakeness of the school itself. Holden finds anything and everything wrong in just about every situation in which he finds himself. He discusses how the Headmaster schmoozes with good looking parents to get contributions; he complains about the horrible steak and Brown Betty desert in the cafeteria on parent day; and he resents Stradlater’s attitude about his essay on Allie’s glove, and Stradlater’s date with Jane Gallagher. Holden is at the stage in his life where he hates just about everything, including himself. However, the one thing he professes to hate the most is phoniness, and it is the reason he gives the reader for leaving Elkton Hills.
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