Walzer, Michael "In Place of a Hero," Dissent, VII (Spring 1960), pg. 156-162. Reprinted by permission of Dissent.

JD Salinger Report

Jeff King
English 1-2 CP
Period 1

Section One- Biographical Material
When you see the name JD Salinger, you wonder what does the JD stand for? Well, it stands Jerome David. Salinger has lived an interesting life and an odd one at that. He is well known for his writing and his isolation.
Jerome David Salinger was born January 1, 1919 in New York. He grew up in the streets of Manhattan and had a pleasant childhood. His father was a successful food dealer, so money wasn't a problem with him. In his last two years of high school, he attended Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. He had the grades to graduate, but on the day of graduation he didn't show up to claim his diploma. The only other schooling he had afterwards were a few writing courses at New York University and Columbia University.
In 1942, he was drafted into the military and was sent overseas to fight. He landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin his war experience. This day was known as D-Day. After he came back to America, he moved to New Hampshire. Here he lived isolated from people. In 1955, he got married to Claire Douglas. Together they had two children. They were married for only 12 years though. In 1967, they divorced.
To this day, he will still not talk about his writing. When screenplay writers came to try and get the rights to "Catcher in the Rye," he refused to let it be made into a movie. He did sell the rights to one book though, "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." The movie was called "My Foolish Heart."
His first novel that he wrote was "The Last Day of the Last Furlough." It was published in 1944. In 1945 he wrote "I'm Crazy" and in 1947 he wrote "Slight Rebellion off Madison." His most famous novel, "Catcher in the Rye", was published in 1951. Later on, he began to write novelettes. Novelettes are just short novels. In 1961 he wrote "Franny & Zoocy." His next two novelettes, "Seymour: An Introduction" and "Raise High the Roofbeams Carpenters", were published in 1963.
To this day "Catcher in the Rye" still sells at least 250,000 copies a year. Salinger is still living in isolation and who knows, when Salinger dies, maybe "Catcher in the Rye" will be made into a movie.
Section Two- Research Overview
The young people of today are without spokesmen. (Walzer 129) We get our excitement from the ever-changing adult world, which at times can be quite troublesome. Salinger represents the favor of a mood. He is able to talk to adolescents as if they were children and he understands how growing up can be a misfortune. He speaks of a childhood that is lost, ends with a withdrawal, and tries to prove that the childhood can be acquired once again. He is finally successful in convincing us that we can escape sophistication by believing in an adult world. Salinger tries to convince us that Holden is a pilgrim and that Seymour Glass is a saint and a martyr. (Walzer 130) He had a knack for turning his readers into a quiet rebel if they related to Holden in any way.
The characters in his novels were not heroic because they were part of a family. (Walzer 131) This is not like a normal family; they depend on fantasy and a safe place dependence and protection. In a sense, Salinger may well be a prophet. "His artfulness is best revealed in his ability to reconstruct the circumstances and sentiments of teenage revelation. I also think of Salinger as the only modern writer with a living room-and there we sit, silent members." (Walzer 131) His writing is fueled by affection his characters and he wishes to bring us into his heated and intimate communications. There is not a single drop of cold blood in his veins. (Walzer 131) He is unable to express his ideas in the form of an adult. He speaks only in the voice of youth. He does this because of the affection for the child and because of the phoniness of the adult world. His characters can't figure