JD Salinger's 'For Esme with Love and Squalor': A Brief Analysis

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Responses to For Esmé with Love and Squalor In the short story For Esmé with Love and Squalor Esme is portrayed as a very mature and adult like character. Although her age of only thirteen years she presented herself as a educated and developed child. “Are you very deeply in love with your wife?” (95) this quote represents Esme's friendly personality, within only the first few minutes of knowing one another she asks such a question. “Charles, do sit up!”(97) this quote may be short although it describes Esmes mother figure towards her little brother Charles.

"I'm going to sing jazz on the radio and make heaps of money'(93) in this quote Esme is describing what she wants to do for a living this quote shows her confidence and desire to become a mature and intelligent adult. J.D. Salinger portrays Esme using many quotes and details throughout the short story.

While Esme and Sybil have similar roles in both novels they are presented with very different personalities and characteristics.

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One similarity is why both characters approached the men. "i purely came over because i thought you looked extremely lonely"(95) this quote is said by Esme although we are told that Sybil approached Seymour because he seemed lonely as well.

Sybil and Esme are dramatically different in age Esme being thirteen and Sybil being three this age difference is a huge factor in both characters personalities. “My aunt says i'm a terribly cold person" this quote is the exact opposite of how sybil is described in the story.

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Seymour and The Narrator of For Esmé with Love and Squalor have two very different personalities one being more civilized than the other. "fired a bullet through his right temple."(18) this is the last phrase in the bananafish story clearly Seymour is suicidal and mentally unstable. We do not see any of these features in The Narrator of For Esmé with Love and Squalor. The setting of For Esmé with Love and Squalor is in a public facility as shown by the following quote "i asked her if she would like to a cup of tea”(95) this situation could not happen with Seymour do to him being uncomfortable around most people. Clearly both characters are very different and are meant to convey two different meanings.

J.D. Salinger conveys dozens of messages throughout the story although depending on what point of view you chose your outcome will be different. “We've decided against it. (87)” this quote is referring to The Narrator's decision on whether or not to go to Esmes wedding. He chooses to not go he does so because he wants to keep the image of innocence that he has saved in his memory. “Kissed the arch. (17)” This is when Seymour kisses sybils feet many would see this as an inappropriate sexual act although a deeper meaning can be pulled out of it. Seymour uses the kiss to try and take him back to his youth where he was innocent and didn't know the worlds dangers.


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JD Salinger's 'For Esme with Love and Squalor': A Brief Analysis. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/a-short-response-on-for-esme-with-love-and-squalor-a-short-story-by-j-d-salinger-essay

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