Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction
by J.D. Salinger
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction Writing and Literature Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Story.Section.Paragraph)
Then the pencil began, very unsteadily, to move. An 'I' was dotted. And then both pad and pencil were returned personally to me, with a marvelously cordial extra added wag of the head. He had written, in letters that had not quite jelled yet, the single word 'Delighted'. The Matron of Honor, reading over my shoulder, gave a sound faintly like a snort, but I quickly looked over at the great writer and tried to show by my expression that all of us in the car knew a poem when we saw one, and were grateful. ("Roof Beam" 2.139)
This is a great precursor to the discussion of poetry in "Seymour: an Introduction." Think about this "poem" in the context of Buddy's exposition on the topic of that second story.
He didn't even talk to you, for God's sake, the whole way down on the bus or subway. I said that not one God-damn person, of all the patronizing, fourth-rate critics and column writers, had ever seen him for what he really was. A poet, for God's sake. And I mean a poet. If he never wrote a line of poetry, lie could still flash what lie had at you with the back of his ear if he wanted to. ("Roof Beam" 3.15)
This connects Seymour to the uncle, whom Buddy has already described as a poet. He seems to be getting at some element of spirituality when he uses the term; he's not just talking about literary prowess here.
With or without soap, her handwriting was always almost indecipherably Minute, and she had easily managed to post the following message up on the mirror: 'Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man. Love, Irving Sappho, formerly under contract to Elysium Studios Ltd. Please be happy happy happy with your beautiful Muriel. This is an order. I outrank everybody on this block.' The contract writer quoted in the text, I might mention, has always been a great favorite - at appropriately staggered time intervals - with all the children in our family, largely through the immeasurable impact of Seymour's taste in poetry on all of us. ("Roof Beam" 3.28)
It's fitting that Boo Boo quotes from a famous poet in order to wish Seymour – the resident family poet, it later turns out – a happy wedding.