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J.D. Salinger

Writer of one of the most successful works of American literature of all time, The Catcher in the Rye, author J. D. Salinger remains a reclusive enigma. Nevertheless, there is some information known about his life that reveals the influence of his experiences on his literature. Salinger was born in Manhattan, January 1, 1919, the only son of Sol and Marie Salinger. J. D. did not do well in school and flunked out of prep school. He eventually went to military school at Valley Forge, where he preferred the regimen and of military life. While there he acted as the schoolÆs fencing team manager. After high school, Salinger went to college at New York University, then Ursinus College. Salinger did not fit at either and took a short story writing class at Columbia College, taught by Whit Burnett who ôwas the first person to publish one of SalingerÆs essays entitled æThe Young FolksÆ in his magazine Storyö (Grom 2004, 1). During WWII, Salinger suffered through traumatic battles, returning home to adopt a somewhat Zen lifestyle. His first and only novel published, The Catcher in the Rye, has become a staple of American literature, but Salinger remains elusive from the public turning out short stories and essays.

The Catcher in the Rye is SalingerÆs only published work, though many speculate he has finished novels during his seclusion. The adolescent protagonist of Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield, exhibits many qualities and undergoes many experiences similar to Salinger. For example, Holden exhibits the same kind of alienation from others that Salinger has ever since the novel was published. Caulfield remains alienated from most of the experiences that we view as typical of adolescence. As he says of himself, he loves a few people passionately, but he does not ôlike anything thatÆs happeningö (Salinger 1964, 169). Holden is also similar to Salinger in that he manages his schoolÆs


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J.D. Salinger. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:58, May 25, 2020, from