J. D. Salinger Essay

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J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger "The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." -James Bryce* In 1945, a novel was published that would forever change the way society views itself. The book, entitled The Catcher in the Rye, would propel a man named Jerome David Salinger to fame as one of the most famous authors of the twentieth century. This same man, not ten years after the publication and while still in the peak of his career, would depart from this society- the one that he so greatly changed leaving nothing but his literature to be his lasting voice. However one may view this mysterious life of J. D. Salinger, there is but one thing for certain: J. D. Salinger has provided the reader with a
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After receiving an English degree at Columbia, Salinger worked briefly as an entertainer on the Swedish Liner MS Kungsholm in the Caribbean in 1941. In 1942 Salinger enlisted in the United States Army and fought in World War II, where he eventually became a staff sergeant earning five battle stars. The time spent overseas played a major role in what would ultimately be the basis of most of Salinger's short stories. World War II is also where Salinger met one of his major literary influences, Ernest Hemingway. Although Salinger's style stems from Hemingway, their first encounter was not one that sat well on Salingers's mind. The story goes that while Hemingway was serving as an author-correspondent, he visited Salinger's regiment "and that Salinger became disgusted when Hemingway shot the head off a chicken to demonstrate the merits of a German Lager "(French 25). The incident so affected Salinger that he incorporates it into his short story, "For Esme: with Love and Squalor," with a corporal named Clay shooting the head off a cat and constantly dwelling upon the senseless act. The relationship between Hemingway and Salinger would last until Hemingway's death in 1961. Despite having a personal relationship with Hemingway, according to Harold Bloom, "…[Salinger's work actually] derives from F. Scott Fitzgerald (qtd. in "Salinger" SSC 2: 318)." Such a conclusion can be drawn for a number of reasons. First, Salinger's narrative
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