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J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, will not be forgotten

J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger

Ninety-one-year-old Author J.D. Salinger, died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday. Salinger was best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye, though some people may recall another work of his called A Perfect Day for Bananafish. Published in the January 31, 1948 issue of The New Yorker. It was said that A Perfect Day for Bananafish established his reputation in literature.

The story was based on Mr. Seymour Glass, who, spends the day at the beach while his wife spends her day in the hotel room. Salinger portrays Seymour’s thoughts of isolation and his wife’s detached attitude toward him. The writing style depicted not only symbolism but dialog that, though seemingly meaningless, really gave more of a subtle hint of what was really going on in Seymour’s head. At the end of the story Seymour Glass calmly goes into the hotel room and shoots himself.

Salinger published at least thirteen stories in The New Yorker. His last work was a novella entitled, Hapworth 16, 1924, and was published in The New Yorker in 1965. Salinger had a way of taking words and the commonplace, and giving it a bit of a torque to cast an underlying irony to the story. His own irony though, was that his uncanny ability to write in such a way that he was able to get into the readers’ mind. This may have caused Salinger to close himself off from the world. In doing so he became an obscure attraction and was sought out by media and fans all the more causing Salinger to become a recluse.

Salinger gave his last interview in 1980, but resurfaced from time to time for various lawsuits including the most recent in 2009. According to a CNN report back in June of 2009, Salinger had his lawyers file a lawsuit in federal court against an author calling himself J.D. California and his publisher a Swedish company that advertises joke books. Apparently J.D. California portrayed the infamous Holden Caulfield, the rebellious teen from Salinger’s classic novel The Catcher in the Rye, as an old man. Salinger’s lawyers filed the suit to stop the publication, sale and advertisement of the novel 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.

There is no crime in protecting one’s work, nor is it a crime to be a recluse. J. D. Salinger’s reasons for his hiding from the world may never be known. His writing ability and talent may never be learned, but J.D. Salinger will never be forgotten.

A copy of the Catcher in the Rye can be purchased locally at the Barns and Noble book store on Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland - 1000 Highland Colony Pkwy Ste 3008, Ridgeland, MS 39157.