The Works of J.D. Salinger

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J.D. Salinger: The influence of an author and his writings on 1950s America The end of World War II and the beginning of the 1950s saw a time of prosperity and success in mainstream America. Less than a decade after the United States allied with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, forming one of the most powerful forces in history to defeat the axis powers in the war, the U.S. was deeply entrenched in a nuclear arms race and "Cold War" with the Soviet Union. As a result, the country put on a collective fa‡ade of stability and strength to cover up many injustices that were taking place during the time. Americans, equipped for the first time in a long while with a good amount of money, flooded to the suburbs and replaced any sorrows they might have had with material products and consumerism -- creating an America of conformity and extravagance that Salinger would devote much of his writing to critiquing. With the publication of Catcher in the Rye in the summer of 1951, America was introduced to Holden Caulfield, a character who would continue to remain in the American psyche for over half a century. Holden was the voice of this young generation who did not seem to have the same conformist attitudes or mainstream goals as their parents. Predictably, this critique of society and questioning of traditional American values was quickly met with an attempt to censor the message of dissent. Beginning in 1954 and continuing for decades, Catcher was criticized for its cynical tone, its "un-American" content, and its foul language ("237 goddams, 58 bastards, 31 Chrissakes, and 1 fart," according to one complaint" Steinle 3). But despite this controversy, and no doubt at least partially because of it, countless numbers of Americans read ... ... middle of paper ... ...es H. "Incommunicability in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye." Western Humanities Review, XI (Spring 1957), 188-190. (Reprinted in Studies in J.D. Salinger by Marvin Laser and Norman Fruman). Lomanzoff, Eric. "The Praises and Criticisms of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye" (1996) www.levity.com/corduroy/salinger1.htm Pinsker, Sanford. "The Catcher in the Rye and All: Is the Age of Formative Books Over?" The Georgia Review 50: 4 (1986): 953-967. Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1951. Salinger, J.D. Nine Stories. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1953. Steed, J.P. The Catcher in the Rye: New Essays. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2002. Steinle, Pamela Hunt. In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2000.
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