Catcher in the Rye

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Holden's classmates


"You never saw so many mean guys in your life. For instance, if you were having a bull session in somebody's room, and somebody wanted to come in, nobody'd let them in if they were some dopey, pimply guy. Everybody was always locking their door when somebody wanted to come in. And they had this goddam secret fraternity that I was too yellow not to join. There was this one pimply, boring guy, Robert Ackley, that wanted to get in. He kept trying to join, and they wouldn't let him. Just because he was boring and pimply.”

What can be inferred about Holden when he explains the above to Pheobe?


During his time at Pencey, Holden, too, was guilty of excluding Ackley from social situations.


Guys who attended The Pencey School, if they had acne and/or lacked personality, were almost always ostracized.


Holden feels he has to exaggerate to Phoebe to demonstrate how mean his classmates were at Pencey.


Holden lacked the courage to not join the school fraternity, even though he thought the fraternity was dumb.


Holden is desperately trying to get some measure of validation from Phoebe.