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Catching Hope : JD Salinger’s Short Fiction



… I have scars on my hands from touching certain people …

Catching Hope : JD Salinger’s Short Fiction

A soldier returns from WW2. What to do now ? A Man wanting to win his wife back. A girl waiting for a letter. Such are the characters in Salinger’s short fiction. These characters are lost, waiting to be found, yet they prefer hiding in their own miseries. Hope is sought but never attained. These short stories display how hope lurks in tragedy too. We learn through these characters how those who seem the most elegant may very well be the most distraught. Salinger himself once said, “I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” He plots in these stories not to make us happy, but to accept the nervy life, and to gather courage with any hope that might makes us smile.

The course focuses on the short fiction of JD Salinger, and his style of writing. Before Salinger ever published the infamous Catcher in the Rye, he was known as the New Yorker writer. Salinger found himself amidst the horrors of World War II, and found life through the nib of his pen, and the stroke of the keys on his typewriter.

Through the course, we understand how characters lost in the past and their own genius often negate the world and seek hope in vain. We also discover how Salinger’s writing style would differ in his short fiction, from the classic voice of Catcher. This course covers all the New Yorker stories Salinger ever published, and we learn to write like the master himself.

How this course works

The participants and the instructor meet on the decided weekly timing via a group Skype, for a session of textual analysis of a short stories. The students are expected to attend the session after having read these stories. Participative responses are encouraged across the session, during the exercise of textual analysis by the instructor and through the open discussion.

In the course of the second month of this course, the study of Salinger’s short fiction is complemented with CineWords, our participative exchange of movie interpretation, based on Salinger (Shane Salerno, 2013) (more details here), selected by the guide in relation to the course. This participative sessions takes place through a group Skype.

Finally, also during the second month of this course, the group connects for a live Questions & Answers session with the instructor. The session is optional, and based on the questions of the participants.

Term Course

Duration : 8 weekly sessions of 90 minutes each
Dates and Times : decided with the participants
Modality : Skype Videoconference
Open to : All · No pre-requisites

At IST, a new edition of each course is organised upon 3 confirmed participants


Nine Stories


Three Early Stories


Write Like the Masters : Emulating the Best

By William Cane
Chapter 16 : Write like JD Salinger


The session dates for the next edition of this course will be set
based on the common availability of the registrants.

Session 1

Introduction to JD Salinger and his World War II years.

Session 2

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes

Session 3

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

Down at Dinghy
The Laughing Man
De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period

Session 4

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut
Just Before the War with Eskimos

Session 5

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

Three Early Stories :

The Young Folks
Go See Eddie
Once a Week Won’t Kill You

Session 6

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

For Esme with Love and Squalor

Session 7

Textual Analyses and Discussions of excerpts from :

A Perfect Day for a Bananafish

Session 8

Writing Like Salinger session.


Participative discussion on the following film, with open interpretations and cross-analyses with the text of the course.

Salinger (Shane Salerno, 2013) (details)

The participants will be shared the link to watch the movie online. They are expected to join the discussion after having watched the movie on their own.

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers session.

Open discussions based on the remaining questions of the participants.


Akshansh Singh

Akshansh Singh


Experience with the Texts of this Course : 4 years +

Holden defined rebellion in teenage while he sought solace in finding a meaning to this twin-faced world. Yet in Salinger’s short fiction lies the melancholy that one must imbibe to seek the meaning to this twin-faced world. And such was the case with the two perfect Salinger stories – For Esme with Love and Squalor and A Perfect Day for a Bananafish. The neurosis of characters that Salinger drew left a vital impact on my early understanding of this world, and like all early influences, these pieces of short fiction remain close to my heart.

Akshansh Singh is an Indian writer currently based in Dubai.
Discover his courses here.



The financial contribution is open
beyond a minimum amount of

59.00 $

or the equivalent in your local currency
Check the conversion rates here

8 Sessions of Textual Analysis
1 CineWords Discussion
1 Questions and Answers session
Reading Material in soft copy
Instructor’s Notes for each session
HD Audio Recordings of the sessions


A new edition of this course will be organised
upon 3 confirmed registrations