by J.D. Salinger
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
An Odd Combination of Reverence and Detachment
We can't doubt for a moment the way the author feels about his main character, the "whole and pure" Teddy who "carrie[s] the impact, however oblique and slow-travelling, of real beauty" (1.4). Even Teddy's voice is "oddly and beautifully rough-cut, as some small boys' voices are," and with regard to his crossed eyes the author would have us know that "one might [think] long and seriously before wishing them straighter, or deeper, browner, or wider set" (2.21, 1.4). There's a real sense of respect and admiration for ten-year-old Teddy.
Perhaps because of this reverence, the author takes Teddy's advice and doesn't go "sticking [his] emotions in things that have no emotions" (4.46). He remains detached, particularly when it comes to Teddy's [likely] death at the end of the story. There is nothing sad and no regret to be found in this ending; the author seems to state it and accept it – just as Teddy wanted.