An American soldier stationed in Devon in April, , meets a precocious 13 year old girl, named Esme, and her brother, Charles, 5. They have a brief, . “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor” is a short story by J. D. Salinger. It recounts a sergeant’s . Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the. Use our free chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of For Esmé with Love and Squalor. It helps middle and high school students understand J.D. Salinger’s .

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Looking just semi- pleased with his achievement, he relaxed again. I passed along and sat down in the front row.

Salinger wished to speak for those who still struggled to cope with the “inglorious” aspects of combat. She says nobody gets a nervous breakdown just from the war and all.

For Esmé—with Love and Squalor

Infilm and TV director Peter Tewksbury approached Salinger about a making film version of the story. Charles, whom I am teaching to read and write and whom I am tinding an extremely intelligent novice, wishes to add a few words. The instant the hymn ended, the choir coach began to give her lengthy opinion of people who can’t keep their feet still and their lips sealed tight during the minister ‘s sermon.

He was looking very splendid in brown Shetland shorts, a navy-blue jersey, white shirt, and striped necktie. A couple of the very youngest children dragged the tempo a trifle, but in a way that only the composer’s mother could have found fault with. Although the men who lived on the first floor usually had first grab at the books sent each month by Special Ser- vices, X usually seemed to be lefl with the book he might have selected himself. I ordered another pot of tea and sat watching the two of them till they and the harassed Miss Megley got up to leave.

He immediately picked up his napkin and put it on his head. I’m still around, but from here on in, for reasons I’m not at liberty to disclose, I’ve disguised myself so cunningly that even the cleverest reader will fail to recognize me.


Charles gets angry and stomps away, and soon it is time for the children to leave the tea house. X sat looking at the door for a long while, then turned his chair around toward the writing table and picked up his portable typewriter from the floor.

The choir member, taking off her coat as she walked across the floor, made the table selection — a good one, from my point of view, as it was just eight or ten feet directly in front of me. You got a stamp collection? X declines, and stays in his room alone. He ached from head to foot, all zones of pain seemingly interdependent. I replied that some us never drank any thing but tea. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

It wasn’t the observation of a smart aleck but that of a truth-lover or a statistics-lover. You’re the eleventh American I’ve met.

For Esme – with Love and Squalor by J D Salinger

twxt Pick up Eisenhower jackets for the whole detachment. I said that many soldiers, all over the world, were a long way from home, and that few of them had had many real advantages in life. I said that I wasn’t terribly prolific.

He quickly did what he had been doing for weeks to set things right: She stared back at me, with those house-count- ing eyes of hers, then, abruptly gave me a small, qualified smile. He’s right under your feet, Clay How ’bout turning on the goddamn light? X finally starts to feel sleepy, and the reader is left with the feeling that he might come out of this after all. Salinger wisdom and comfort. I waved back, half getting up from my chair. She has a small role in the story, mainly as a not-very-good governess who allows the children to sit with and talk to Sergeant X.

True enough, her literalness is a trifle comic, but it is not morally disabling, as it might be in an adult. Charles’ mouth fell open. It had probably slipped off the pile when he had made space for the typewriter.


It seemed to me to be a wonderful dress for a very young girl to be wearing on a rainy rainy day. She wrote me she’s glad you and I were together and the whole war. He still exhibits the symptoms of his mental disorder.

He came forward, his face livid, and gave me a loud, wet smacker just below the right ear. He put es,e arms on the table and rested his head on them. She is around thirteen years old, and is a very pretty child.

Obviously others asked the same question. You were simply do- ing your duty. Fortunately the window was open. Their voices were melodi- ous and unsentimental, almost to the point where a somewhat more denominational man than myself might, without straining, have experi- enced levitation.

He stepped down off my foot and, with white- hot dignity walked over to his own table, without looking back. He could make out somebody’s feet standing on a lawn somewhere. But Esme, all touchingly, is a phony herself, phony as only a year-old girl overly proud of her vocabulary can be. They’re fore ver punching one another about, and insulting everyone, and — You know what one of them did? Then, abruptly famil- iarly and, as usual, with no warning, he thought he felt his mind dis- lodge itself and teeter, like insecure luggage on an overhead rack.

As the war receded in memory, America was embracing an “unquestioned patriotism and increasing conformity”, [3] and a romantic version of the war was gradually replacing its devastating realities.

If so, what type of love saves him? X raised his head, turned it, and saw Corporal Z standing in the door. The next thing I knew, the young lady was standing, with enviable poise, beside my table. Nobody’s aiming to please, here. Listening, I scanned all the children’s faces but watched one in particular, that of the child nearest me, on the end seat in the front row.