Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters, and Seymour, An Introduction
Salingerís next book, published in 1963, consists of two stories
which involve the Glass family. Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters,
is the story of Seymour Glasses planned wedding day. The entire story
takes the form of a discussion between wedding guests with the main
thrust of the discussion being why the groom failed to appear at the
wedding. Buddy Glass, Seymours younger brother surreptitiously is a
part of this group and is eventually discovered.
Seymour had previously explained to his fiancee that he was too happy
to get married. Many critics have argued over the meaning of statement.
Some feel that Seymour lacked the commitment to go through with the
wedding, while others feel that Seymour might desire his life to
remain stable. Seymour does in fact go through with the wedding at
a later time, but commits suicide while on his honeymoon with his wife.
Much of the story, and others, describe some of the problems that
Seymour and his siblings have had in their lives.
Another main thrust of this story, others that involve
Seymour, and most of Salingersí stories in general deal with the trials
of youth. Problems associated with religion, mysticism, relationships
and sex all are discussed or referred to in some manner. Critics have
argued that many elements of the story are heavily symbolic. An
example of two symbols that are largely unarguable include the use
of blank paper and empty glasses as a symbol of emptiness.
This story, as many others try to do, ends with some level of
enlightenment being met by the protagonists.