Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

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.

Research Data and Supplementary Material