Analysis Of `` For Esme, With Love And Squalor ``

1608 Words7 Pages
In his short story, “For Esmé, with Love and Squalor,” J.D. Salinger utilizes the function of secondary characters to expose the correlation between the contrasting ideas of idealism and cynicism. The three minor characters of Esmé, her brother Charles, and Corporal Z all play different but necessary roles in the mental and emotional development of the main character, Sergeant X. While the characters of Esmé and Charles represent the best traits of humanity, their lifestyles contrast that of Corporal Z, a pessimistic and rude war veteran. After Salinger sets a standard of ideal human nature through the two siblings and their interaction with Sergeant X, he purposefully introduces Corporal Z into the story to help demonstrate the differences between the personalities of idealistic and cynical people; in doing so, Salinger reveals relationships between youthful innocence and idealism, as well as arrogance and cynicism.
Esmé’s commendable traits, such as her compassion and sophistication, reflect her perfection in the eyes of Sergeant X. From the time she first talks to him at the restaurant, Esmé puts forth effort to develop a friendship and unique bond with the struggling soldier. After Esmé comments to Sergeant X, “I 'd be extremely flattered if you 'd write a story exclusively for me sometime,” she reminds him, "It doesn 't have to be terribly prolific! Just so that it isn 't childish and silly. […] I prefer stories about squalor" (151). Other than showing her friendly

More about Analysis Of `` For Esme, With Love And Squalor ``

Open Document