J. D. Salinger's Nine Stories

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In Nine Stories by J.D Salinger, characters play a prominent role in influencing the lives and emotions of other characters. Throughout the stories, there are various friendships involving soldiers whose lives are deeply affected by war, as well as regular civilians. However, the nature of the different relationships between characters differ. For example, the narrator in “For Esme:-with Love and Squalor” and the young innocent girl Esme have an affectionate relationship between each other. In contrast, the link between Arthur and Lee from “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes,” is one that is characterized by deception. While “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes” and “For Esme with Love and Squalor” may seem like wholly different stories, when the reader…show more content…
This is apparent by the fact that Lee is with Arthur’s wife while he is telling Arthur not to worry about his wife. “When the phone rang, the gray haired man asked the girl, with quite some little deference, if she would rather for any reason he didn’t answer it.”(49) The gray haired man is Lee. Despite pretending to be good friend, Lee is indeed an inadequate confidante to Arthur. Although Lee sounds like a good friend to Arthur, he is actually the center for the destruction in Arthur’s life. Esme, on the other hand, actually cares about that narrator.“I am taking the liberty of enclosing my wristwatch which you may keep in your possession for the duration of the conflict...I am quite certain that you will use it to greater advantage in these difficult days than I ever can and that you will accept it as a lucky talisman.”(48) In this quote, Esme proves her invaluable support for the narrator in the midst of his tragic war experience. It is a big deal that Esme gives her watch to the narrator because it her most precious possession. This is because this watch was given to her by her father before dying in was. The different nature of each relationship in these stories demonstrates friends play a powerful role in the life of individuals. Lee causes Arthur’s life to collapse…show more content…
In “Pretty Mouth Green My Eyes”, Arthur consults Lee in the climactic moment of which his life is falling apart. We learn through the conversation between these men that Arthur is being dumped by his wife, and that he has just lost a major court case that will severely threaten his job security. Lee, who initially seems to be a good friend, consoles him by telling Arthur to relax and that his wife will join him soon. However, it becomes apparent that Arthur’s wife Joanie is in fact with Lee while they speak. Therefore, Lee is an unworthy friend. In, “For Esme with Love and Squalor”, the relationship between the narrator and Esme is one of honesty and innocence. When the narrator writes Esme the letter about his nervous breakdown as well as his unsanitary living conditions, he fulfills his promise to Esme about writing her a story about squalor. In addition, Esme demonstrates her affection for the narrator when she sends him her most valuable possession, her father’s watch. The narrator cherishes this watch and survives the war. In times of desperation and melancholy in one’s life, it is natural to seek out assistance with one’s life. However, it is critical to consider who will be the

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