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Life and Philosophy of J.D. Salinger

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Essay title: Life and Philosophy of J.D. Salinger


J.D. Salinger is one of the most renowned writers of his time. J. D. Salinger is most known for his controversial in the Catcher in the Rye. Salinger is also known for many of his writings such as Franney and Zooey, Nine Stories, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. The summer of 1930 he was voted "The Most Popular Writer". "Salinger is a beautifully deft, professional who gives us a chance to catch quick, half-amused, half-frightened glimpses of ourselves and our contemporaries, as he confronts us with his brilliant mirror images" (Lomazoff 1). In the novel, Catcher in the Rye, there is a relationship between the main character, Holden Caulfield, and Salinger. J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye explicitly demonstrates his life and philosophy in relation to his work.

Salinger was born January 1, 1919 in New York City. He was the second of two children. He had an older sister named Doris. His parents were Sol and Marie Salinger. His father was Jewish, and his mother was Scotch-Irish. He was raised up in Manhattan during 1920's and early 1930's. His parents enrolled him in McBurney Prep School in 1932. He flunked and his parents sent him to Valley Forge Military Academy, Pennsylvania. Later, after graduating he was drafted into the military and was known for carrying a typewriter around so he could write and publish stories. His perspective on life was molded by his experience in World War II. The main character, Caulfield's crisis' in the novel was said to be shaped through frustrations and terrors of the world being at war with itself.

In the mid-1940's Zen Buddhism began to influence Salinger's life and writings. Also, in the early 50's Salinger met frequently met with teenagers while writing Catcher. These influences, and also the fact that he was an "unknown" writer made him free from clichĐšs and slogans that the rest of the world fell prey to. Salinger only sought

independence, growth, and stability in his life. Because Salinger was not a renowned writer, he did not have to worry about meeting expectations or censorship. Salinger would never try to censor himself, and felt that he should not have to. He frequently speaks of a phony society in which we all live in and in order to be accepted into the adult world, we must become a "phony". Being a "phony" meaning, adjusting yourself to become what is socially acceptable even though it may not be what you desire to achieve.

"His work is a unique phenomenon, important as the voice of a "silent generation" in revolt against a "phony world" and in search of mystical escapes from a deteriorating society rather than "causes" promising political revolution or reform"(French 4).

Many of Salingers views for The Catcher in the Rye come from his intense hatred for hypocrisy. In the novel, Holden Caulfield feels that he must not submit to the phoniness of life, but attain an attitude of tolerance, understanding, and live which will make his life endurable.


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