Bachelor of Arts in English
James Tackach, Ph.D.
In the 1950s, the majority of the American population was still high on its WWII victory. However, a dark counter-culture lay beneath this surface cheer. Many soldiers returned home with painful emotional and mental trauma due to their horrific war experiences that typical American citizens couldn’t fathom. These men were expected to embrace the identity of war hero, and many suffered silently. In J.D. Salinger’s “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Salinger paints the picture of WWII soldiers struggling to readjust to domestic life in 1950s America, exploring the hidden reality of war trauma on American men.
Dubovic, Lexi, "The Myth of the Happy, Homecoming Soldier: J.D. Salinger's Exposé on Post-War" (2020). English Theses. 32.