“The Holy Refusal”: A Vedantic Interpretation of J.D. Salinger’s Silence

MLA Citation:

Pattanaik, Dipti R. “”The Holy Refusal”: A Vedantic Interpretation of J.D. Salinger’s Silence.” MELUS23.2 (1998). JSTOR. Web. 25 Nov. 2010. <http://www.jstor.org/pss/468015>.

First Paragraph:

“The silence of J.D. Salinger continues to be an enigma.  That a successful writer should cease to publish at the height of his glory not only defeats our everyday notions about success, it also baffles the serious students of Salinger’s work and life.”


Pattanaik cites biographer Ian Hamilton and Salinger scholars Warren French and James Lundquist trying to sort out the reasons Salinger may have gone into seclusion.  He also cites Ihab Hassan’s The Dismemberment of Orpheus as a place where “a more rigorous analysis of Salinger’s refusal to publish his works and make himself public…”

Pattanaik attempts to use “the Eastern religions and mystic Catholicism” to find an answer to his question.  He ultimately comes to the conclusion that Salinger’s silence is a result of the author’s attempt at “right living” and that it is all explainable through his characters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *