Brief Update: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I’ve been doing a lot of casual research on J.D. Salinger recently, as well as working my way through his short stories. Yesterday I finished the novella “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters”, the first of two stories collected into a single volume. Although I will do a full review of the book after I finish the second novella (“Seymour: An Introduction”), I wanted to say something about this story alone. As with all good stories, I’m left mulling over what has happened and uncertain about how to feel. The story revolves around Seymour’s wedding day, but interestingly, Seymour is never present in the action of the story. Salinger accomplishes a great feat in this story; he manages to teach the reader a lot about a character who is never actually there. Moreover, he delves subtly into deep questions like what it means to be happy and how to prioritize your own and others’ happiness. It is definitely an interesting addition to my understanding of Seymour and Buddy Glass. Now, after taking a little time to think through this first story, I am eager to see how “Seymour: An Introduction” adds to my mental image of Seymour and whether Salinger will continue to develop the questions raised in “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters”.

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