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February 14, 2007



What?! What?! Seymour Glass was a pedophile? And all these years, I thought he was just overwhelmed by the failed trajectory of his life.

Oh, no. No. And "Uncle Wiggily"... Well, what about "For Esme, with Love and Squalor"? Yikes! Another pedophile?

Hey - JD Salinger was shacking up with Joyce Maynard when she was about twelve.

Oh. This is too much for this innocent English major to cope with.

Friend #2

Yeah, yeah, yeah Becs. And Jerry Lee Lewis married his 14-year-old cousin. Creative people do weird things.

BTW, Scotch is amberish. If you want golden, try a good Chardonnay. Or lemonade.


Becs- Mom told me not only about Joyce M but also about some odd deflowering thing he had going on. I don't remember the details. Didn't some woman he lived with finally write a book spilling all the secrets of the notorious recluse?

Libby - have you been reading this by John Stossel? http://www.nysun.com/article/36394

your writerly affectations are distracting

Friend #3

I looked up "writerly", sir or madam, and am unfamiliar with this term. Would you be so kind as to illuminate me?


I am proud of my writerly affectations, you, and I strive to make my speakerly affectations and behaviorly affectations equal them.


Umm..you didn't "miss" anything. Seymour WASN'T a pedophile.


ffff (Hi, ffff, if that is your real name) - Have you read The Bright Forever? What are your views on Mr. Dees?


why are there two different people called "the queen"


John - Thank you for asking. There's just me, but I was logged in differently the two times I commented.


I don't think the pedophile reading is that far off. It was the first thing I thought of when I read this story. Although he may have never acted on his impulses, his time on the beach with Sybil shows him that his ability to restrain himself is limited. He kills himself before he can destroy the innocence of a young girl. Further evidence is found in another of Salinger's stories, when it's said that Seymour marries Muriel because of her similar appearance to a young girl with whom Seymour was once in love. I'm surprised this interpretation isn't given more weight.


Adam - hm. It tends to cause a very violent reaction in a lot of people. You do know JDS died today. Sad. Though gaoo posted a link to a very funny Onion parody:


I was in my 30s when I first read the story, but it never occurred to me that Seymour's interaction with the girl was entirely innocent. I hesitate to call him a pedophile, an ugly word and concept, but I do think that he had desires he didn't know what to do with, be they passing or all-encompassing. As is apparent by all the Glass family stories, it was also the age of the psychotherapist, which was all about cruelly defining people by their torrid internal thoughts.

I know that theory is dismissed, but, really people. What do you think a "bananafish" is? Why do you think she saw one (and only one) under the water right around the time he kissed the arch of her foot?

I feel bad for Seymour. I don't know how much better we are now, but I am confident that there wasn't much room for unsavory thoughts, passing or not, in that day and age. I think many of us are a little more prepared for the messiness of desire now than then. Poor Seymour.


(P.S. Nice post. I liked it.)


Joel - there's a book with similar desires: The Bright Forever. Lovely story. Should have won the Pulitizer over Oscar Wao, I think.

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