ersial writer, for thesubject matters that he writes. . J.
D. Salingers works were generallywritten during two time periods. The first time period was during WorldWar II, and the second time period was during the 1960s. Critics feelthat the works during the 1960 time period were very inappropriate,because of the problems for which he wrote.
The main characters weregenerally misfits of society. In most of his works, he has theprotagonist of the story go on a quest for happiness. Salinger does notconform to the material happiness; the characters undergo a spiritualhappiness. The characters generally start out as in bad conditions,through the end of his works they undergone changes that change them forthe better. The works of J. D.
Salinger show the quest for happinessthrough religion, loneliness, and symbolism. Salingers works often use religion in order to portray comfort. InSalingers Nine Stories Franny Glass keeps reciting the “Jesus Prayer”to cope with the suicide of her brother Seymour (Bloom in Bryfonski andSenick 69). Salinger is able to use this prayer as a means of comfortfor Franny.
The prayer stands for the last hope for Franny in thissituation. Franny would be lost if their was no prayer. (Bryfonski andSenick 71). Salinger shows us comfort in Catcher in the Rye. HoldenCaufield, the protagonist, is very much in despair for losing hisgirlfriend, so Caufield reads a passage in the Bible. This helps Holdenchange his outlook on life (Salzberg 75).
Holden was all alone at thispoint and had no one to turn back on, until he found the Bible (Salzberg76). In both stories the characters had found themselves in badsituations. The characters in these works have obstacles which they mustovercome in order to achieve happiness (Salzman 34). Happiness is the !very substance which all of these characters are striving for inSalingers works. Salinger uses religion in his works to comfort them sothat they can proceed on their quest to achieve happiness.
Salinger uses religion as a means for liberation. Salinger uses much ofthe Zen philosophy, as in the case of Nine Stories, to achieve thisliberation (Madsen 93). In Nine Stories one of the characters, SeymourGlass, is portrayed as Buddha in the sense that he wants to be liberatedas Buddha was in his life (Madsen 93). Seymour Glass in Nine Stories has acertain philosophy about life, it is similar to the Eightfold Path usedby Buddha when achieving nirvana (French in Matuz 212). Seymour Glass ison a quest to become free from all of the suffering in his life as Buddhawas from his life (French in Matuz 213). Seymour follows the Eightfoldpath to become liberated from suffering (Madsen 96).
Seymour achieves”nirvana” by living a good life and end anything that causes suffering. Seymour is able to attain nirvana by committing suicide (Lundquist inMatuz 211). Salinger shows us that when Seymour committed suicide he letgo of all of the suffering that he encountered, !thus attaining the happiness he longed for (French, Salinger Revisited132). Salinger shows liberation as an end to all suffering, thus creatinghappiness for the character. (French, Salinger Revisited 133).
The final function of religion as a means to attain happiness was to gainpeace In “The Young Lion,” Salinger uses religion to gain peace througha fictitious war. In the story many of the soldiers were dying and thecountries were in turmoil (Lundquist 312). The leaders in the story see avision on the battlefield that changes them, and stops the war (Lundquist315). Salinger shows how religion can be a force used to create happinessin a story, by creating peace (Lundquist 313). Salinger is able to usereligion as a means of attaining happiness through peace.
The storyseemed very dismal, until religion intervened and stopped the conflict. Salinger creates happiness for the characters by stopping the conflict. In “The Stranger” Salinger creates peace through a war by using more ofthe Zen philosophy. Salingers creates a “Pact of Peace” which stops theconflict between the Germans and Polish during WWII (Hamilton in Bryfonskiand Senick 143) . The “Pact of Peace” !was a teaching used by Buddha in the Zen philosophy (Hamilton in Bryfonskiand Senick 143).
Salinger uses Zen, in this case, to stop the conflictbetween the Polish and Germans(Hamilton in Bryfonski and Senick 143). Inmany of Salingers works the conflict, becomes a source for much