|The Last and Best of the Peter Pans|
|12 pp. of double-space typescript with the by-line J. D. Salinger|
|Original Publication Date||November 6, 2018|
12 pp. of double-space typescript with the by-line J. D. Salinger
The Last and Best of the Peter Pans is the earliest of the Caulfield family stories, having been completed in 1942, but remains unpublished. It is one of three stories with Vincent Caulfield as the narrator, the other two being The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls and This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise. In this story we learn of older brother Kenneth‘s death, catch a glimpse of Phoebe, and hear about Holden.
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 Access is tightly controlled, and Salinger has reportedly ordered that the stories not be published until at least 50 years after his death.
The story revolves around a conversation between Vincent Caulfield and his mother regarding the Army draft. She has hidden his draft survey and he gets angry but later regrets this. He realizes she just wants the best for her sons, especially as one, Kenneth, has already died. Note that Jim Rovira’s account claims that the roles of Kenneth and Vincent are reversed.
Written from the point of view of Vincent Caulfield, older brother of Holden and Phoebe, and with references to a dead brother named Kenneth, the story focuses on a conversation between Vincent and his mother, Mary Moriarity, an actress. Their talk occurs because Vincent found his questionnaire from the draft board that his mother had hidden. The conversation, which involves Mary’s concern for Vincent and Vincent’s concern for his family, ends with a reference to her wanting to keep a child from going over a cliff and Vincent’s feeling sorry for various people just as Holden misses various people at the end of The Catcher in the Rye.