Salinger and Fruits

From: John Gedsudski <>
Date: Tue Jan 28 2003 - 20:06:59 EST

>Kim, I too love SAI and consider it among Salinger's best work. It's
>interesting that he mentions readers in his last two books. I think
>Salinger thought a lot about his readers. He clearly doesn't care for
>critics and scholars but he does want to appeal to "amateur readers." will

Kim, while your truly accepts the fact this is a matter of opinion, how can
you possibly call Hapworth 16, 1924 an "artistic failure" but at the same
time find redeeming qualities in Seymour: An Introduction? At least the
former was nothing but a loyal and direct translation via Buddy, the latter
being a maudlin, pathetic, self-described "hagiography". Nothing in the
prologue "touches on" Seymour's suicide (besides the quasi-obit). Tell me,
you don't wince when reading how S. searched those ashtrays?
There is more reference to his suicide in Zooey than in that whole novella.
While I have found the posters on this list both insightful and petulant
(sometimes at once), there is a line drawn. Or maybe a row of marbles. On
one side, the fans of JD Salinger, whom, while rifling through his trash,
would discover a crumpled grocery list and find literary merit in it. 'Gee
Wiz,' they would say after a reading, 'I always knew Salinger loved
tangerines. No doubt I'll begin to find insight on Les Glass from this
discovery.' Then comes inspiration; 'Today, class we will talk about the
significance of citrus in the postmodern literary giant known as JD
Salinger. You may remember the consecrated broth we discussed last week. The
theme of food, particulary, citrus, we will see, has enormous implications
for our section this week titled "You are What You Read".

It is striking how the cult of personality and the author is not seperated
for these people. Sad, really. If you want to use Seymour: An INtroduction
as in a creative writing class, so be it. My view is that there is so many
better choices it is a travesty to use it. There's no wonder why it ranks at
the bottom of the list of even the most devout Salinger fans. Because as I
said earlier, a writer cannot, should not write ONLY for himself. If the
choice is made to do so, the content will, by default, unravel. It's not an
issue of writing for someone else. It's a matter of making it interesting to
others. Communication. Salinger knew a story like A Perfect Day For
Bananafish was a masterpiece in both form and function. Why did it take him
so long to revise it? Why was the title changed? The whole introduction,
after all, was created last minute but gives us a great deal of insight into
Muriel. In 1948 Salinger didn't have the liberty to author a diatribe such
as Hapworth 16, 1924. Later, of course, as a "celebrity" he could pay
attention to those "amateur readers" Will mentions. By choosing to publish,
instead of the rumoured new novel (advanced returned in 1970 to Little Brown
because of his failure to do so) on the Glass family, windy, circumscribed
and miasmatic works. So appealing...
So the whole Seymour Saga, according to Buddy, is one big Mobius strip. So
much for him blowing his brains out, his brother the writer-recorder
ruminates and deteriorates instead of just forgiving him like Zooey.

The other side of the posters contains those weathered skeptics.They don't
have "heroes" like the oft-mentioned Kafka. But they have built in shit
detectors and aren't afraid to break them out even when surrounded by those
who are armed and dangerous, operating in blind faith.

As you could likely predict, I'm a member of neither group of posters. Never
would I join a group that would take a person like me as a member.


John Geduski
Adjunct Professor of Wags
Philistia Community College
501 Pontiff Drive

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Received on Tue Jan 28 20:07:02 2003

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