Literary Analysis of “Teddy”

The story,” Teddy,” by J.D Salinger begins when Teddy, the main character in the story, appears to disagree with his father Mr. McArde who is a daytime radio serial actor. The parents then differed on how to punish the ten -year old boy. However, the boy’s intelligence is noted at this moment when he religiously turns his attention to floating orange peels beside the ocean liner, saying he saw the floating peels because he had a personal understanding regarding the message portrayed by the lifeless oranges.

Teddy’s floating orange peels bring back to mind Seymour’s glass Bananafish. The everyday imaginary things used suggest an invisible tension within the physical world. There is a rich figurative expression in the story line. For instance, the lifeless peels observed freely floating on water symbolizes human inner life, the life beyond flesh and blood. This life is portrayed as an intangible force binding objects and places to lives beyond. Teddy is essentially observant at his tender age. He is also God fearing.

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The story covers a series of scenarios, but its ending is one of the most chilling aspects. The two stories end with loaded messages on mortality and fragility of human life. They remind readers of mortality of humans and emphasize the existence of life beyond the grave. Things take place in more or less real-time, as metaphors are used as a way of describing humanity. The theme revolves around characters with precocious and protagonist traits; they see the world differently from others.

In the literature piece, two youths, Seymor and Teddy are portrayed to echo each other. Their behavior walks in the line between genius and madness. Teddy and his friend harbor what seems to be a death wish. Teddy cannot be blamed. The boy appears to have all things going for him. He has wealthy and well-informed parents, who take him around Europe. Teddy also has a vivacious sister, in addition to his own skillful mind full of knowledge, and a mind that thirsts for more knowledge.

Teddy seems not to despair, but incase he has, his cannot be compared to Seymour’s. It is surprising that Teddy is morbidly scared of death-especially his own. He puts down, “It will either happen today or on February 14, 1958.” This statement reflects on a spiritual preparedness concerning his demise. His interest in the oranges, besides his fearless reaction at the ocean liners window, also portrays the boy’s strong spirit against loss of lives.

When he meets Nicholson, Teddy tells him about his premonitions regarding death. He argues that death is not a big ordeal, that everyone must change bodies a thousand times. The idea of changing of bodies originates from Buddhist faith. The religious believe reminds of Salinger’s faith. He was a devoted believer in the Eastern traditions, particularly Buddhism.

Despite Teddy’s believes concerning death, nothing in the story states that he died. In the final sentence, Salinger makes a statement that remains in our minds. He writes “… a young girl’s scream was heard.” It seems that something wrong happened, but we are not told who was crying, and why she was crying. The author uses suspense to promote readers’ ability to make opinions on the story based on plot development.


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