After stating that he will just tell us about the "madman stuff" that happened the previous December, Holden typically digresses to describe his brother, D.B., who was a "terrific" short story writer until he sold out and went to Hollywood. The theme of Holden's favorite D.B. story, "The Secret Goldfish" (about a child who buys a goldfish and does not allow anyone to look at it, because he has paid for it with his own money) foreshadows Holden's consistent passion for the innocence and authenticity of childhood.The setting for the early chapters in the flashback is Pencey Prep, a "terrible" school whose atmosphere seems as cold as the December air on Thomsen Hill. Holden has no love for prep schools. Although he oddly respects the academic standards of Pencey, he sees it as phony, if not evil. Magazine ads for the school, featuring horsemanship, are misleading because, Holden claims,
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