Salinger’s “Inscrutable” Text


For The Millions, Christian Kriticos revisits J.D. Salinger’s story “Hapworth 16, 1924,” and tries to place the story within Salinger’s celebrated career. Although the story receives much criticism for its “strange” meandering style, Kriticos claims this structure “follows the contours of the mind” and that it should be appreciated for diverging from Salinger’s usual style:

Unlike the modernist form of stream-of-consciousness, “Hapworth” is both internal and external at the same time: in addressing his letter to his family, Seymour the narrator is communicating externally; but, at the same time, large portions of the letter seem to be directed at himself. And perhaps the same could be said for Salinger: through “Hapworth” he is addressing both the reader and himself.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →