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For Esmé with Love and Squalor

For Esmé with Love and Squalor

by J.D. Salinger

For Esmé with Love and Squalor Analysis

Literary Devices in For Esmé with Love and Squalor

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The huge, chronograph-like watch that Esmé sports is really the only continuing visual symbol that we encounter in the story. From the beginning, the oddness of the huge watch on the girl's ti...

Setting

The first setting we find ourselves in is the idyllic, albeit rainy, peaceful English countryside. Even though it's wartime, some semblance of normal life seems to persevere in Devonshire – w...

Narrator Point of View

For the section we've been calling "Unofficial Part 1" of the story, we deal with a very opinionated, quite charming, first person narrator, who actually re-emerges right at the end of the story (i...

Genre

The war is the driving force behind this story, and it's essential to both the events of the plot, and the emotional transformations we see here. The narrator/Sergeant X is a soldier, just as Salin...

Tone

"For Esmé" allows Salinger to show off his mad skills with regards to tone – the two section of the story are like day and night. The first half is lighthearted, dryly comic, and chatty;...

Writing Style

This is considered to be a classic New Yorker short story – that is to say, like the best of the short stories published by this landmark magazine, it's sleek, elegant, and beautifully constr...

What's Up With the Title?

This gem of a short story is a gift – specifically, a wedding present from the narrator to Esmé, a very special young lady. We learn that the narrator, a writer, promised Esmé that...

What's Up With the Ending?

The story's final, admittedly rather cryptic line, "You take a really sleepy man, Esmé, and he always stands a chance of again becoming a man with all his fac – with all his f-a-c-u-l-t-...

Plot Analysis

"For Esmé – With Love and Squalor" isn't exactly a classically plotted story – for the life of us, we couldn't get it to fit into the parameters set by the classic plot analysis. R...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The narrator explains what he's doing in Devon – he's a soldier.During the "Falling Stage," the hero falls under a "dark power." Early in the story, we don't exactly know why war is a "dark p...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Basically, the first section of the story (the tearoom scene) – lasts until the shift in time and place.Sergeant X's post-breakdown breakdown is Act II; just after Clay leaves, he's on the br...

Trivia

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events features a character named Esmé Squalor, in a sly reference to this story. (Source)The NYC-based band We Are Scientists named their 2007 debut a...

Steaminess Rating

Sex doesn't even register a blip on the radar here. Most of us are used to the Salinger that gave us sex-conscious Holden Caulfield; this story, however, is about childhood and innocence, so it's o...

Allusions

Joseph Goebbels, Die Zeit Ohne Beispiel (108)Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (108)D-day (the Normandy Invasion) (4, 111, 159)V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) (106) Pearl Harbor (113) Dwigh...
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