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The Catcher in the Rye

by J. D. Salinger

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What does Holden dislike about the Pencey Prep advertisement and Headmaster Thurmer?

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Holden feels that the advertisement for Pencey Prep is phony, presenting a false image, he says:

"They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hot shot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time.  I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place." (Salinger)

Holden believes that the image presented in the ads suggest something about Pencey that is not true, this fits right in with his philosophy of phoniness and how all adults are phony. It reinforces his opinion that the world is full of phonies, and helps support his belief that he doesn't belong at Pencey so it is no big deal that he got kicked out.

"Advertisements portray Pencey as an elite school that grooms boys into sophisticated men, but Holden sees it as a nightmare of adolescence run amok."

Holden was called to Dr. Thurmer's office for a conference and he tells us that he was in the office for about two hours, probably an exaggeration, because Holden can't stand being lectured to about his behavior, so even if the meeting was 15 minutes, he would say it was longer.

When he is asked about the meeting by Mr. Spencer, the teacher he goes to visit before he leaves school, he tells him that:

"Oh...well, about Life being a game and all. And how you should play it according to the rules.  He was pretty nice about it.  I mean he didn't hit the ceiling or anything.  He just kept talking about Life being a game and all. You know." (Salinger)

Holden resents Dr. Thurmer for saying that his parents are "grand people", he had spoken to them about Holden a few weeks back.

"Grand. There's a word I really hate.  It's a phony.  I could puke every time I hear it."  (Salinger)


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