J D Salinger Influence On Modern Literature English Literature Essay

Ninety old ages ago, a in-between category white adolescent would hold most likely sported a clean haircut and corduroy bloomerss and would hold had nil less than compliant positions toward his parents. Today ‘s in-between category white adolescent has a bushy haircut, wears ripped up denims, and acts more independent of his parents. Post-war literature can be partly credited for this passage from a conventional young person to a rebellious 1. J. D. Salinger, one of the first writers of the post-war literature motion, had an huge impact on post-war art, civilization, and literature, through his usage of dynamic characters.


In his most good known novel, The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger focuses the novel on the chief character, Holden Caulfield, instead than the secret plan. Holden Caulfield represents the adversities of adolescence. An intelligent, wealthy, immature adult male, Holden is a adolescent male child who is traumatized by the decease of his younger brother. Holden is invariably neglecting out of school and finds himself missing way in life. He describes about every business, runing from:

school deans ( Page 3 )

military work forces ( Page 86 )

attorneies ( Page 172 ) as being “ hypocrite ” , while besides claiming that one of the

merely calling waies non worthy of being deemed as “ bogus ” are authors. This mentality can besides be seen in the teenage counterculture that celebrates authors and creative persons and disfavors humdrum white-collar occupations, as demonstrated by catch phrases such as “ make your ain thing ” .

The motive of phoniness can besides be found in Salinger ‘s fresh Franny and Zooey. During Part 1, Franny Glass is out to tiffin with her fellow, Lane, who she has non seen in hebdomads. Feeling guilty that she did non lose Lane ( Page 4 ) Franny realizes that she does experience as compassionate towards Lane as she one time did. With a clear head, Franny begins to happen intolerable phoniness in her ain fellow. Irritated to the point of a harangue, Franny goes away on Lane:

Well, I do n’t cognize what they are about here, but where I come from, a subdivision adult male ‘s a individual that takes over a category when the professor is n’t there or is busy holding a nervous dislocation or is at the tooth doctor or something. He ‘s normally a graduate pupil or something. Anyway, if it ‘s a class in Russian Literature, say, he comes in, in his small button-down-collar shirt and striped tie, and starts strike harding Turgenev for about a half hr. Then, when he ‘s finished, when he ‘s wholly ruined Turgenev for you, he starts speaking about Stendhal or person he wrote his thesis for his M.A. on. Where I go, the English Department has approximately ten small subdivision work forces running about destroying things for people, and they ‘re all so superb they can barely open their mouths-pardon the contradiction. I mean if you get into an statement with them, all they do is acquire this awfully benign look on their [ faces ] ( Page 8 ) .

Franny ‘s aggression towards phoniness led her to injure a relationship with her equal, nevertheless she defended her rules.

Salinger ‘s critical position on phoniness influenced author David Eggers, whose adolescence bears resemblance to Holden Caulfield ‘s. In Eggers ‘ memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius he spills out his life narrative of a white, in-between category college pupil who loses both parents in one twelvemonth and is left with the duty of his 12 year-old brother. After the passing of his parents, Eggers revisits decease in an anecdote he portions, where he must convert his friend to endorse off of a suicide effort. In this scene, Eggers goes perchance even farther than Salinger in naming phoniness by naming the really act of self-destruction, a reoccurring idea of Holden ‘s, as hypocrite. “ I mean, the imbibing entirely? The vino and pills and everything? You ‘re such a f-cking cliche ! ” ( Page 233 ) .

Selling Out

Salinger besides helped to present the modern construct of “ selling out ” . To Salinger, selling out, or mistreating a endowment to have money is one of the worst wickednesss an creative person can perpetrate. Holden ‘s brother D.B. is a talented author who, after old ages without success composing short narratives, turned to Hollywood to do his luck. A passionate opposition of films ( once more for their phoniness ) , Holden is speedy to depict his brother as a “ cocotte ” ( Page 2 ) .

Punk civilization, the adolescent anti-establishment motion, was founded on the political orientations of Salinger. Just as Salinger ‘s characters were despised by hypocrites, Punk was created in response to a antipathy of what the “ bogus ” mainstream was bring forthing. Iggy Pop, known as the godfather of hood, is an obvious follower of Salinger ‘s literature. In an interview, Iggy Pop, was asked what his sentiment was on encores and how certain sets can be celebrated to the point of adoration. Iggy Pop responded, “ You ‘ve seen so many trashy, fake-y, bogus, bathetic Acts of the Apostless get encores. You know, I do n’t desire an encore, do n’t give me an encore ” ( Gzowski ) . Earlier in the interview, Iggy besides said, “ I would bask sometime if everyone would merely put down on the floor, non clap or pay any attending to me. Make you cognize what I mean? ” ( Gzowski ) . Not merely is this a rejection to the attending seeking stone stars of his twenty-four hours, but it was about like Holden Caulfield was sitting following to Iggy stating him what to state, sing Holden ‘s position on attending in Chapter 7: “ Almost every clip person gives me a present, it ends up doing me sad. ” ( Page 52 ) .

Now deemed a authoritative, The Catcher in the Rye, was besides extremely regarded when it was foremost published in 1951. Ben Welter wrote one of the first reappraisals of the novel and claimed “ Month in, month out, novels do n’t come much better. ” However J. D. Salinger ne’er wrote to delight the critics. He wrote “ merely for [ himself ] and [ his ] ain pleasance, ” ( Fosburgh ) . That is why, even though Salinger became a hermit after the success of The Catcher in the Rye, he “ had been seemingly been composing about [ the fictional household the Glasses ] nonstop, ” ( McGrath ) . The characteristic that Salinger is self-motivated is a quality found in many counterculture creative persons today, including Iggy Pop. When Gzowski mentioned to Iggy in their interview, that Iggy had developed a big international followers, Iggy responded: “ Are you happy to be popular? Do you acquire a large boot out of that? I suppose you ‘re popular. Well, you know, I do n’t acquire a large boot out of it, truly. I would merely, I would merely, uh, I ‘ve worked really hard for a really long clip, and to seek to do something that is beautiful plenty so that I can bask itaˆ¦ ” ( Gzowski ) .

Young person Alienation

Youth disaffection is besides a common motive in Salinger ‘s literature that influenced post-war society. In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden is often happening that he does n’t suit in with society. In Chapter 2, Holden visits a instructor before he leaves his boarding school. The conversation between Holden and his instructor reflects non merely his disaffection, but besides his incapableness to associate to governments:

“ Life is a game, male child. Life is a game that one plays harmonizing to the regulations. ”

“ Yes, sir. I know it is. I know it. ”

Game, my buttocks. Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, so it ‘s a game, all right-I ‘ll acknowledge that. But if you get on the other side, where there are n’t any hot-shots, so what ‘s a game about it? Nothing. No game ( Page 8 ) .

The fact that Holden does non react to his instructor with his existent ideas, but alternatively decides to merely humour him, shows Holden ‘s insecurity, adding to his disaffection. Holden is besides unable to associate to his parents. Holden, a sensitive male child, who evidently needs person to talk and associate to, talk about his closed relationship with his parents within one of the first lines of the book: “ [ My parents are ] rather huffy about anything like that, particularly my male parent. They ‘re nice and all — I ‘m non stating that — but they ‘re besides huffy as snake pit. ” ( Page 1 ) . Franny, from Franny and Zooey, besides feels alienated, nevertheless she is portrayed as being alienated from her equals. Franny is out to tiffin with her fellow, Lane, nevertheless the treatment is truly merely a series of statements. When Lane mentions how gifted Franny ‘s English professor is, Franny responds, “ I do like him. I ‘m ill of merely wishing people. I wish to God I could run into person I could esteem. . . . Would you pardon me for merely a minute? ” ( Page 11 ) .

The thought of composing about an stripling being alienated, or a “ lone wolf, ” was non something that creative persons of Salinger ‘s clip normally focused on. However, legion novels, films, and other signifiers of literature in the post-war society focal point on lone wolfs. From the character of Spiderman, to Robert De Niro ‘s function in Taxi Driver, composing about lone wolfs became far more popular in the ulterior half of the century. Stephen Chbosky wrote a novel, The Perks of Bing a Wallflower, which is centered around an awkward adolescent named Charlie, who has a lone wolf facet on life which can be seen through his position on his equals, “ Thingss alteration. And friends leave. And life does n’t halt for anybody ” ( Page 107 ) .

Salinger tapped into an country of literature that had non been actively explored, and found success in this country by using his unique, yet realistic, characters. Holden Caulfield, and the Glass Family non merely provided support for those adolescents who suffer through their teenage old ages, but they besides reinvented the teenage character. The conventional teenage male child surely would non hold:

Not failed out of his prep school, however,

spent a hebdomad unsupervised in New York after making so.

We can non give J.D. Salinger complete recognition for this passage. There were, of class, other of import authors who brought approximately this new epoch, in add-on to historical factors. However, his impact on the adolescent civilization, and post-war literature in general, have been unmeasurable.

Work Cited

Chbosky, Stephen. Fringe benefits of Bing a Wallflower. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1999.

Eggars, David. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc. 2000.

Fosburgh, Lacey. “ J.D. Salinger Speaks About His Silence. ” The New York Times. 10/3/1974. The New York Times. 4/12/2010 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/13/specials/salinger-speaks.html

McGrath, Charles. “ J.D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91 ” The New York Times. 1/29/2010. The New York Times. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html

“ Punk Rock Comes to Canada ” Gzowski. CBC. Toronto, Canada. March 11, 1977.

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Small, Brown and Company, 1951.

Salinger, J.D. Franny and Zooey. New York: Bantam, 1955.

Welter, Ben. “ July 29,1951: ‘The Catcher in the Rye ‘ reappraisal ” Star Tribune. 10 Jan. 2010. Star Tribune. 15 April 2010 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.startribune.com/blogs/82988647.html

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