The Importance of the Narrator in For Esme - With Love and Squalor, a Short Story by J. D. Salinger

Categories: Literature

From the begining, I belive it is important to point out that narrator is very similar to Salinger himself. I know that we should not thik about the author as about the narrator, hovewer after searching for some details about Salinger’s life I am really tend to mix the narrator and autor in this short story.

The narrator of For Esmé is obviously the Sergant X but is interesting that autor used first person in first two parts of story and the third person in the last part to talk about the same character again.

It gives me the impression that from the point of the narrator, Sergant X, he is not the same personality anymore. I mean, in the beginig we are in current reaility with letter. Then the narrator tells u show he met the autor of the letter. The second part is the first part of the promised story for Esmé, the part containing love. Than, in the third part, the narrator is the same as before but he talks about himself as about someone else.

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I think it is prabably because he i stalking about really unpleasant time of the time, about the squalor of the story as he pointed out in the beginig of the third part of the story, “This is the squalid, or moving part of the story, and the scene changes. The people change, too. I’m still around, but from here on in, for reasons I’m not at liberty to disclose, I ‘ve disguised myself so cunningly that even the cleverest reader will fail to recognize me.

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” The third part i salso the first part where we can meet some name of the narrator for the first time in the story, even i fit is a bit hiden and only rank of the narrator with “x” instead os the actual name. I am not sure why the author did this, what was his intention.

Even though we know just some kind of nickname of the narrator ade it is just a short story about twenty pages, the character of the narrator is not the flat one. During the story we can find out a lot of characteristics of the narrator’s personality, nevertheless for me the Sergant X is so interesting character that I would love a novel about him, not just a short story. For me the most important element of narrator’s character is his solitarity. In the begining he even talks about him and his colleagueas in this way, “We were all essentially letter-writing types, and when we spoke to each other out of the line of duty, it was usually to ask somebody if he had any ink he wasn’t using.” I think that this quality of the narrator gives the story pretty melancholic atmosphere. I love that the narrator is the trustwothy one. It is probalby caused by the fact, that he is talking about himself, about his experience, about his life, and also beacause it is so similar to the life of the authot, J.D. Salinger, the story is really realistic. And that’s why the narrator seems to be so subjective. I belive, that Esmé would talk a bit differently about their meeting, despite the fact that the characters of the narrator and Esmé are so similar, and that is probably why they were so moved when they met, Esmé stills be a 13-years-old girl who have to have a different poit of view on life.

For me personally, the fact taht the narrator is the same person as the main character provokes more emotions and huger favour to Sergant X. It makes me also feel more like it is really happening. I love the manner in which the author chreated the characters and I am certainly going to read more his books, even though I thought that someone who called his most famous book “The Catcher in the Rye“ cannot write anything engaging.

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The Importance of the Narrator in For Esme - With Love and Squalor, a Short Story by J. D. Salinger. (2022, Apr 09). Retrieved from

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