Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joseph Survant, James Flynn, George McCelvey

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


J.D. Salinger's fiction can be approached by looking at the various elements of fiction, but his largest statement rests in the ways that his characters interac within his world. This interaction leads to a code of behavior that the heroes follow, and can be used to determine the heroic character within a particular piece of fiction, much as the Hemingway code developed by Carlos Baker identified the characteristics of the Hemingway hero, Salinger's heroes are all aware of the phony which is in the world around them. They see this phoniness as something undesirable within the world, yet they must learn to come to terms with this trait in other people, developing a compassion for those that are not genuine. In some heroes this trait is apparent; in others, it must be gained. The Salinger hero also feels a peculiar affinity for the madman, saint, and child. In some cases, the hero may long to lose himself in one of these particular niches, but that escape cannot be permanent. A balance between awareness of the phony and appreciation for the madman, saint, and child must be made. The Salinger hero is also on a quest. This quest varies from hero to hero, and is often a futile quest, but still, an attempt is made by the hero to search for something higher. This study examines three Salinger heroes: Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, Franny Glass in Franny and Zooey, and Seymour Glass in "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," "Hapworth 16, 1924," and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.


Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Fiction | Literature in English, North America