It's Germane

Were You Inspired by J.D. Salinger?

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction, Nine Stories and other works died on January 27, 2010. In 1974, the novelist Philip Roth said, “The work of J.D. Salinger indicates that he…has managed to put his finger on whatever struggle of significance is going on today between self and culture.”

Shortly after Salinger’s death, JJML program director Martha Potter assembled a display of Salinger’s works in our gallery area. Alongside the display she placed a pad with the simple question written on top of an otherwise blank page. The question was: Where you inspired by J.D. Salinger?

Several library patrons responded by leaving brief handwritten messages on the pad. Here’s what they had to say:

Yes. I dreamed of running awy on a train — took me 30 years to get to it —

Yes.  :)

Yes. Spiritual explorations

J.D. Salinger let me know there were other people like me out there.

He taught me to be bad.

He made me very curious about him.

What high school student hasn’t fantasized about romancing a teacher? Of course, in those days we only dreamed of it!!!

Yes, he made such a difference to me in high school!

Yes, he inspired me to become a better writer, and I will miss him very much.

First time I saw swear words in print — scary but fascinating —

Holden Caufield is arguably the most important character in American literary fiction, and, as such, everyone in America who still reads books is inspired by him, either directly or through another author’s borrowing of one element of him.

What do you think? Were you inspired by J.D. Salinger or one of his characters? Add your thoughts here by leaving a comment below.

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