In this passage from Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger, Mr. Antolini explains to the young Holden the merits of an education.
He knows Holden thinks school is pointless and teachers are phonies.
But he also senses Holden is aware of his inability to adequately express his thoughts and feelings.
And he uses this to eloquently convey to Holden the notion that books are a lifeline because we learn from the mistakes and vicissitudes endured by their writers.
And if we're lucky, and we have the talent, maybe one day we can think of helping other people by writing about ours.
"And I hate to tell you," he said, "but I think that once you have a fair idea where you want to go, your first move will be to apply yourself in school. You'll have to. You're a student – whether the idea appeals to you or not. You're in love with knowledge. And I think you'll find, once you get past all the Mr. Vineses […] you're going to start getting closer and closer – that is, if you want to, and if you look for it and wait for it – to the kind of information that will be very, very dear to your heart. Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."