Date of Award
Honors Bachelor of Arts
Paul D. Reich
Jill C. Jones
Literature is often centered around the human desire for connection and the struggle to understand one another. This tension is heightened in novels centering adolescents and young adults, who are often insecure in their own identities. J.D. Salinger's fiction is a hallmark of this thematic exploration, yet he fails to interrogate dimensions of gender and class in a meaningful way. Sally Rooney's contemporary work subverts Salinger's within plot structure, distanced communication as a device, and self-synecdoche of distress, as well as her open engagement with class and gender. She demonstrates the power of reckoning with one's own identity, revealing how this opens up individuals to positive change and human connection.
O'Malley, Emily, ""Everyone's always going through something, aren't they?": J.D. Salinger, Sally Rooney, and the Desire to Connect in the Face of Distress" (2021). Honors Program Theses. 191.