Yet an interpretation that prioritizes Joyce’s engagement with Shakespeare provokes prioritizing Caliban as a key touchstone for Stephen throughout the novel; if Caliban is the focal point, rather than Wilde, the concern shifts to the—far more comprehensive—question of Stephen’s desire for mastery of self-expression.
Both Stephen and Caliban are highly aware of their relative lack of control over language, and a consequent lack of control over self-presentation.
The only substantive body of work on this topic as yet is largely concerned with Caliban’s potential Irishness, and the difficult dynamics of artistic self-definition for a colonized island.
My planned methodology is, admittedly, largely internal to Joyce and Shakespeare’s work, even closed-off from much current scholarship.
Shortly following the near-universal acclaim of , Salinger’s “Franny” and “Zooey” and subsequent installments meditating on the Glass family were met with increasingly critical resentment and weariness of Salinger’s devotion to a set of precocious, misunderstood geniuses, so much so that by the time “Hapworth 16, 1924” appeared in in 1965, it was “greeted with unhappy, even embarrassed silence” (Malcolm).
Since then, many authors and fans have sought to redeem Salinger from a writerly perspective (Samuels; Kotzen and Beller), while his status in the world of literary criticism remains uncertain.
In the opening section of “Zooey,” Buddy says, “what I’m about to offer isn’t really a short story at all but a sort of prose home movie” ( 47).
Buddy’s proclamation of documentary is complicated by the fact that we know this is fictional story by Salinger and, even within the logic of the Glass family chronicling, it’s clear that Buddy was not there for the events of the story.
Bidney talks about how the turning point in a Salinger story is often accompanied by a game of , or the little girl turning her doll’s head to face Seymour in the poem in “Zooey.” Other forms of games and tricks in Salinger include the use of framing devices, the employment of a play-set New York that is at once familiar and fake, and the winking italicization of words and syllables to inflect layers of meaning.
By using literary tricks and games and playfully drawing attention to his fiction’s constructedness, Salinger leaves his secrets hiding in plain sight.