by J.D. Salinger
Teddy Theme of Love
Love is just one of the many emotions main character Teddy McArdle feels we should all do without. As spiritual guru well versed in Eastern religious philosophy, Teddy believes that emotions get in the way of spiritual advancement. They are distracting, he explains, and not helpful. Because Teddy believes in reincarnation, he feels as though emotional involvement in any one particular life serves no purpose – each life is, after all, only a drop in the bucket in the span of the long, immortal lives of our soul. Teddy discusses love in particular as having different forms. Sentimental love serves no purpose, but one can "love" God in a very different, proper way.
Questions About Love
- Why is Teddy so staunchly against emotions? What's wrong with feeling things?
- Teddy is against emotion; does this mean he is cold and detached? If not, how is this possible?
- Teddy says that he loves his parents in the sense that he has "an affinity" for them (4.66). What does he mean by this? Is it really love that he's talking about, or his having an affinity for someone something very different indeed?
- Teddy tells Nicholson that he loves God, but that he doesn't love Him sentimentally, as God would never want anyone to love him that way. What way, in Teddy's opinion, does God want people to love him? And why in this particular way?
Chew on This
Teddy has succeeded in removing emotion from his life.
Despite a very convincing façade, Teddy is still consumed with emotion.