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Salinger’s other important books, all of which were published after The Catcher in the Rye, deal with a more extensive family than Holden’s: the Glass family. But these works can all be viewed as more sophisticated, philosophical explorations of the concerns and Themes first raised in The Catcher in the Rye. In Nine Stories, Salinger introduces the Glass family and suggests the profound spiritual disillusionment of Western artists that resulted from the Great Depression and World War II. Franny and Zooey describes the youngest members of this family and reiterates Salinger’s sharp criticism of contemporary society, pseudo-intellectuals, and the East Coast academic and literary culture. The character of Franny dramatizes a theme Salinger spent most of the 1950s exploring: the conflict between alienation from a world the European existentialist philosophers described as meaningless and without religious certitude, and a neo-mystical, religious psychology that Franny exhibits in her desire to escape that world. Salinger suggests that mysticism and a search for perfection, which Franny absorbs from her brilliant but suicidal older brother Seymour, is an insufficient solution to the condition of modern humankind. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction portray Seymour as a visionary seer and seeker after Eastern religious insight who is so wounded by the world and frustrated by his inability to find perfect consciousness in its squalid reality that he cannot find peace. Salinger’s later fiction, scholars persuasively argue, is deeply philosophical and central to expressing the spiritual and psychological anxiety of artists and intellectuals in the post-World War II decades.

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