Essay In English Literature

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/ The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass” (Wilde 3). Most scholars contend that Joyce is engaged primarily with Wilde as a fellow, near contemporary Irish writer.

In this case the question is semi-historical and largely abstract.

What qualities do readers (especially writer-readers) admire in Salinger’s stories?

And what about these qualities and others make Salinger’s body of work difficult or unappealing from a critical standpoint?

And I propose to talk about these techniques and devices in the context of writerly tricks, games, and pranks.

Perhaps much of what lends Salinger’s work its magical character is, in fact, magic, in the sense of sleight of hand and intentional artifice and trickery.Bidney talks about how the turning point in a Salinger story is often accompanied by a game of , or the little girl turning her doll’s head to face Seymour in the poem in “Zooey.” Other forms of games and tricks in Salinger include the use of framing devices, the employment of a play-set New York that is at once familiar and fake, and the winking italicization of words and syllables to inflect layers of meaning.By using literary tricks and games and playfully drawing attention to his fiction’s constructedness, Salinger leaves his secrets hiding in plain sight.Shortly following the near-universal acclaim of , Salinger’s “Franny” and “Zooey” and subsequent installments meditating on the Glass family were met with increasingly critical resentment and weariness of Salinger’s devotion to a set of precocious, misunderstood geniuses, so much so that by the time “Hapworth 16, 1924” appeared in in 1965, it was “greeted with unhappy, even embarrassed silence” (Malcolm).Since then, many authors and fans have sought to redeem Salinger from a writerly perspective (Samuels; Kotzen and Beller), while his status in the world of literary criticism remains uncertain., seemingly surface allusions to the romances are in fact essential to the novel’s interests in redemption, art and most importantly language.More specifically, I propose to explore the ways in which Joyce uses Shakespeare’s romances to articulate the dynamic between mastery over language and mastery over artistic self-expression of the interior. I contend that this early reference to Caliban frames Stephen’s struggle for independence as an artist as one also for control over the presentation of his own image through language.Yet an interpretation that prioritizes Joyce’s engagement with Shakespeare provokes prioritizing Caliban as a key touchstone for Stephen throughout the novel; if Caliban is the focal point, rather than Wilde, the concern shifts to the—far more comprehensive—question of Stephen’s desire for mastery of self-expression.Both Stephen and Caliban are highly aware of their relative lack of control over language, and a consequent lack of control over self-presentation.Realist art has the possibility for honesty, yet the portrait it produces is often unlikable; it depicts an accurate exterior at odds with the interior and the desired self-perception.Romantic art demonstrates the artist’s ability, creating an image too beautiful to be representative of either the subject’s exterior or interior.

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