What is Holden's educational background in Catcher in the Rye?

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Holden is only sixteen years old. He has been to three prep schools and has been expelled from all three of them. Therefore, his educational background is minimal. He must have had very little high-school-type education, and he shows that he has no self-discipline. At age sixteen he should have completed a couple of years of high school. But if he was expelled from Whooton School and at Elkton Hills, and has just been expelled from Pencey as the novel opens, he cannot have acquired much learning during his high-school-level career to date.

His conversation with the old teacher Mr. Spencer in Chapter Two tells almost everything about Holden's educational background. We realize that he got expelled, not for bad conduct, but for academic indifference, for flunking out of everything but English classes. He is obviously on a slippery slope academically speaking. Once a student starts flunking because of nonattendance and noncompliance, it is nearly impossible for his teachers to turn him...

(The entire section contains 679 words.)

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