"Soft-Boiled Sergeant" chronicles a young soldier's entry into the military. The title refers to the good-natured Staff Sergeant, Burke, whom the young soldier meets. Burke helps him to go through difficulties with other people and helps him overcome some of his nervousness among the other soldiers and the environment.
The piece was originally titled "Death of a Dogface" and the magazines' decision to change the title, as well as use a "cute" illustration to accompany the piece, made Salinger deeply resentful.
- JD Salinger: The Development of the Misfit Hero. P Levine.Twentieth Century Literature, 1958
- Salinger: a biography, p 92.. Paul Alexander. 1999
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