|Last Day of the Last Furlough|
|"Boy, use your head," the sergeant's pal warned him. "Jackie is twice the girl Frances is. Frances will give you nothing."|
|Original Publication Date||July 15, 1944|
"Boy, use your head," the sergeant's pal warned him. "Jackie is twice the girl Frances is. Frances will give you nothing."
A story about John “Babe” Gladwaller and Vincent Caulfield at home before they go overseas to serve in France during World War II. Vincent’s brother would go missing in action, and Vincent himself would be killed in France.
This is part of a series of World War II stories focused on the Gladwaller and Caulfield families. It fits chronologically after This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise and before A Boy in France and The Stranger.
Babe talks about war and about his feelings for his girlfriend, Frances, in a way that is very reminiscent of Salinger’s famed later character, Seymour Glass.
He doesn’t know, thought Babe, lying in the dark. He doesn’t know what Frances does to me, what she’s always done to me. I tell strangers about her. Coming home on the train, I told a strange G.I. about her. I’ve always done that. The more unrequited my love for her becomes, the longer I love her.
- Vincent dryly refers to his ex-girl Helen‘s child as “a little stranger”, an apparent reference to the later story of his death, The Stranger.
- Babe Gladwaller refers indirectly to reading Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, The Great Gatsby, and Ring Lardner at the start of the story.
- The story takes place in November, probably 1943.
- Vincent is referenced as being 29 years old.
- Babe is referenced as being 24 years old
- Vincent’s brother, Holden is missing and was “not even twenty”, “not till next month”.
- Mattie Gladwaller is ten
- The Saturday Evening Post CCXVII (July 15, 1944) 26-27, 61-62, 64