J.D Salinger: Cynicism for the

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J.D. Salinger once said, "A confessional passage has probably never been written that didn't stink a little bit of the writer's pride in having given up his pride." This probably best describes Salinger's whole outlook on life. As a very private man, and later a recluse, he refused to give many interviews or even allow a picture of himself on his book jackets. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say this statement was made by, for example, Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in Catcher in the Rye. Is there a contrast though? Salinger never wrote anything from a personally autobiographical point of view but instead used his protagonists' as the canvas for his bitter opinions on society and his individual beliefs. The American novelist and short story writer's scornful cynicism and withdrawn demeanor is heavily imbedded into Caulfield, along with several other characters, making them a literary representation for everything Salinger stands for. More specifically, "Salinger is the master of the memorable detail, the seemingly random gesture, the debris of mundane daily operations" (Hemon 1970). With no centered plot to revolve around, Salinger uses random occurring everyday tasks and events to allow his bitterness towards society to shine through. Evidence of Salinger's personal history, non-conforming and non-predictable actions, and sarcastic and somewhat solitary attitude towards society are present in many of his characters'.
"Salinger's portrayal of Holden Caulfield incorporated depression, nervous breakdowns, impulsive spending, sexual exploration, vulgarity, and other erratic behavior," (Aldrige, 1956). All of these components can be linked to Salinger. He was especially vain about the attention his writing received and often pursued young girls for sex, and like Holden, was hospitalized in a mental institution. Salinger flunked out of several prep schools befor…