“We're All Part of Each Other's Harmony and Everything”: Vedantic Influence in J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories
Term of Award
Master of Arts in English (M.A.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)
Department of Literature and Philosophy
Olivia Carr Edenfield
Committee Member 1
Bradley C. Edwards
Committee Member 2
Caren J. Town
The intention of this paper is to explain the connections between J. D. Salinger’s short-story collection Nine Stories and Vedantic philosophy, which is very briefly mentioned, and heavily buried, within the text. By defining this text in such a way, the collection becomes much more cohesive and can be considered a short-story cycle connected through philosophical ideas such as Vedanta. In the first story in the cycle, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” negative aspects of post-World War II American life are criticized because of a lack of spiritual connection due to materialism and a culture of commodity. Throughout the cycle, the tone shifts from negative to positive in an upward linear direction as each successive story becomes more hopeful through the characters’ personal epiphanies tied directly to spiritual realization. The cycle finally culminates promisingly and auspiciously in “Teddy.” As a story deeply parallel to “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” “Teddy” shows that spiritual advancement through Vedanta is possible even in a corrupted American landscape, leading Nine Stories from a bleak beginning to an optimistic ending.
Johnson, Kaitlyn, "“We're All Part of Each Other's Harmony and Everything”: Vedantic Influence in J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1686.
Research Data and Supplementary Material