© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
For Esmé with Love and Squalor

For Esmé with Love and Squalor

by J.D. Salinger

Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Nobody's aiming to please, here. More really to edify, to instruct. (2)

This is kind of the purpose of literature in this story – in essence, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The narrator implies that it is more important to "edify," to enlighten, rather than to make up a nice story.

Quote #2

I'd packed all my belongings into my barrack bag, including a canvas gas-mask container full of books I'd brought over from the Other Side. (The gas mask itself I'd slipped through a porthole of the Mauretania some weeks earlier, fully aware that if the enemy ever did use gas, I'd never get the damn thing on in time). (4)

This quote reveals a lot about the narrator – to him, books are more important than a theoretically life-saving device like a gas mask.

Quote #3

"May I inquire how you were employed before entering the Army?" Esmé asked me.

I said I hadn't been employed at all, that I'd only been out of college a year but that I like to think of myself as a professional short-story writer. (70-71)

Though the narrator goes on to admit (kind of) that he's unpublished as of yet, we see that writing is a kind of state of mind – in order to become a writer, one has to envision oneself a writer first.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement