Re: Salinger and Fruits

From: Kim Johnson <>
Date: Wed Jan 29 2003 - 12:42:19 EST

dear adjunct professor,

thanks for your edifying (and enjoyably humorous)
as usual, you deserve another statuette from tim.

it's good we agree it's a matter of opinion, or
artistic taste.

i certainly can't convince you that 'seymour: an
intro' is a tour de force. (perhaps i misunderstand
you, but i do not teach it in a class. i am not a
teacher. i have, however, been a student of

the story is as much about buddy as about seymour.
the prologue as i read it is buddy's attempt to come
to terms with seymour's suicide. and the best he can
do is conclude that seymour (the true artist/seer) is
mainly dazzled to death by the blinding shapes and
colors of his own sacred human conscience.

i'm glad you mentioned 'zooey' re s.'s suicide. i
have been thinking about something zooey said to his
mother, when she wants to contact an analyst for
franny. zooey tells her: remember what analysis did
for seymour. this confirms that s. did undergo
analysis as he sort of promised muriel he would. but,
evidently, instead of getting slightly overhauled,
zooey is revealing something else happened.
as for the ashtrays: i rather liked that touch. and,
moreso, when i found a reference to such behaviour in
janouch's 'conversations with kafka'. (you see, there
i am, over with the trashpickers.)

i thoroughly enjoyed your groucho marx closing.


--- John Gedsudski <> wrote:

> >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.
> Cordially,
> John Geduski
> Adjunct Professor of Wags
> Philistia Community College
> 501 Pontiff Drive
> The new MSN 8: smart spam protection and 2 months
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Received on Wed Jan 29 12:42:21 2003

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