As my Big Project, I have chosen to focus on Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. More specifically, I’d like to focus on two of the nine short stories: “For Esmé – With Love and Squalor” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Both were originally published in The New Yorker, included in Salinger’s Nine Stories collection in 1953, and are generally considered to be part of the American Literary Canon. These two stories deal with men who suffer nervous breakdowns and alienation, but are able to communicate with children. One of the stories ends with the suicide of a broken man, while the other ends with a broken man beginning to attempt to mend himself.
Although I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, I did not explore J.D. Salinger’s other works until I saw the film The Royal Tenenbaums. Upon discovering that the movie was inspired by a family of recurring characters in Salinger’s short stories, I began to devour his entire published collection. These characters, the children of the Glass family, are geniuses who feel alienated from society. They are witty and relatable, and more is revealed about each of the characters throughout each of his short stories. ”A Perfect Day for Bananafish” follows a member of this family, while “For Esmé” never mentions the main character’s name. I would like to research these stories to better understand their ambiguous meanings. I believe my research will help clarify the role of the young girls in both of these stories, as well as the meaning of their dialogue with the broken men. Because Salinger’s stories are so intertwined, I believe that uncovering meaning in one of these texts will help to clarify the other.
After some thorough searching, I was able to find an abundance of analyses written about all of Salinger’s published short stories. I believe there will be no shortage of literary articles about these two stories, as they are widely regarded as two of his best. The articles I have encountered so far have been fascinating and encouraging in my goal of digging deeper into these Salinger stories.
One of the secrets to the best selling book in the galaxy is the inscription on the front reading, “Don’t Panic” in large friendly letters.
Now, that being said, I can continue regarding the remainder of this blogpost. I am thankful for my trusty phone. Without it, I would not have remembered to do a SINGLE one of these. The very act of organizing my thoughts into a collective amalgamation of coherent thought seems to cause me great strife. Merely thinking what to write about is tough enough…
The beginning now of the actual text for the wife of bath has proven most interesting. I very much so appreciate (in a NON-ass-kissing way) being taught a work in middle English by a professor whose focus is middle English. We always get the more standard discussions of the Wife of Bath (I myself remember the red stockings because I missed them on a reading quiz in high school which I protested it as ridiculous that we should be quizzed over what I thought at the time was an “arbitrary” thing like color, when in actuality I didn’t actually do my reading). I am always surprised by how each approach to the tale varies, and how many of the same ideas remain the same, but this semester’s new insight I find intriguing–or should I say, the insight which will be coming out. To be honest, I had no idea that you could actually have a “Marxist” reading of something, as I had hitherto only thought of Marxism in political terms, and it could only be explained in terms of a manifesto of sorts (ZING!). I am very much so looking forward to applying these new forms of criticism to the Chaucer text and using that to really engage and learn from different variations of the same thing.
I have learned in life that the more perspectives in which you can approach something, the higher the chance of your success in manipulating a situation to your advantage, as you become somewhat “omniscient” in comparison with close-minded individuals. Mind open. I am all ears.
Now somebody PLEASE shut up the pink elephant in the corner. It’s REALLY creeping me out.