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For Esmé with Love and Squalor

For Esmé with Love and Squalor


by J.D. Salinger

Analysis: Plot Analysis

Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.


"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. Rather than going in peaks and falls like a more traditional story, this piece goes along at a more consistent pace; it captures the rhythm of regular, everyday dialogue, and, rather than relating a series of events, it relates conversations and states of mind – it's more of a character study than a conventional story. So basically…tough cookies. No analysis here.

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