The Magic Foxhole

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The Magic Foxhole
Original publication source
Original publication dateEarly1944 rating
Boy Standing in TennesseeTwo Lonely Men

The Magic Foxhole is an account of the aftermath of the D-Day invasion.

The draft of this story is currently housed at the Firestone Library of Princeton University. Access is tightly controlled, and Salinger has reportedly ordered that the stories not be published until at least 50 years after his death.


21 pp. of double-spaced typescript with the by-line J.D. Salinger

Told in first person by a compulsive-talking soldier, identified only as Garrity, to another hitchhiking soldier called Mac, whom Garrity has picked up in a jeep near "the Beach" soon after D-Day, this story recounts Garrity's association with a soldier named Lewis Gardner, who suffers severe battle fatigue. Gardner now stands on the beach and waits to be evacuated. As the story ends, Garrity, presumably eager to tell this story again or perhaps another one about a nurse, yells to another hitchhiker. The dramatic monologue-like story suggests that Garrity suffers from battle fatigue, but to a lesser degree than Gardner. Gardner is wrecked by the war. In combat, he keeps on meeting a ghost soldier dressed in a strange, futuristic uniform. Gardner interrogates him and discovers that the 'soldier' is his own yet-to-be-born son, a boy called Earl. Earl is now aged twenty-one and is a combatant, it seems, in World War III. Gardner decides that he must kill this phantom offspring: If Earl dies, maybe the next war will never happen. The story ends with Gardner, still hallucinating, confined in a military hospital, a victim of what the authorities call battle fatigue.


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