Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Bryant Mangum


This thesis explores the use of language in J.D. Salinger’s “For Esmé—With Love and Squalor,” “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. It establishes a narrative pattern in which sensitive individuals such as Seymour Glass and Sergeant X are isolated by the insensitivity of the superficial modern world, attempt to communicate their concerns to others through an exchange of language in material forms, and ultimately find relief in silence. By analyzing various examples of linguistic artifacts and the impact they have on both sender and receiver, this thesis identifies criteria for successful communication as well as reasons for the failure of language which may be useful for the study of these and other works by Salinger. This thesis also considers the intersection of binaries such as silence and noise, and the ways Salinger presents them both thematically and formally.


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Date of Submission