A Best Day For Dissecting J.D. Salinger’s Bananafish

J.D. Salinger’s 1951 classic shorter tale, “A Best Working day for Bananafish,” introduces Salinger’s preferred character, Seymour Glass – only to kill him some quite a few pages later. The tale starts in a posh seaside hotel room, in which we overhear Glass’s spouse on the telephone with her mother speaking about Seymour’s mental wellbeing. From there, we head to the seashore, where by Seymour is hanging out with a 4-ish-12 months aged lady named Sybil and telling her tales about the elusive “bananafish.” The story ends with Seymour returning to his resort place and taking pictures himself in the head.

Seymour Glass, or, as Sybil calls him, “see far more glass,” is a hotly contested short story character in American literature – which gives his oh-so transparent name all the far more irony. Men and women cannot seem to concur on what the male is like, why he is often hanging out with tiny youngsters, or, most importantly, why he decides to kill himself. There are a few foremost theories on the matter.

Principle A person: Seymour is a bananafish. No, actually. In the description he provides to Sybil, bananafish are fish that swim into holes and gorge on so lots of bananas that they get stuck and die. In accordance to some, this is Seymour’s unorthodox but fitting metaphor for the materialistic shopper mentality of article-WWII American culture – not that we’d know anything about that presently. This of system begs the dilemma, what does Seymour’s suicide imply? Is heading back again to his fancy-shmancy lodge area and killing himself the human equal of diving into a banana gap and ingesting to dying? That may demonstrate why Sybil thinks she sees a bananafish – she could be talking about Seymour. OR, perhaps Seymour’s suicide is a way of conquering the materials entire world: by leaving it altogether.

Theory Two: Seymour is a pervert. Yup, all that befriending and swimming and tale-telling is just his way of acquiring near to tiny ladies. You’ll recognize, for instance, that Seymour grabs Sybil’s ankles when he is lying on the beach front, then all over again when he pushes her alongside the drinking water. When he goes so significantly as to kiss the base of her foot, even four-calendar year-previous Sybil is weirded out plenty of to yell, “Hey!” most likely remembering a little something she listened to in preschool about a “crimson-mild touch.” Embarrassed and/or frustrated, Seymour promptly finishes their participate in date, heads again to the resort, and kills himself in disgrace. The reality that sexual abuse is an ambiguous but recurring concept in J.D. Salinger’s other is effective, notably in The Catcher in the Rye, supports the likelihood that some thing is erroneous with Seymour’s libido.

Theory 3: Everyone has gotten way way too P.C. A contact isn’t always inappropriate, a kiss just isn’t normally sexual, adults and young children can hang out in non-creepy strategies, and literature doesn’t generally have “erotic undertones.” Seymour is drawn to the innocence and guilelessness of youngsters because his activities in WWII have manufactured him experience disillusioned with the grownup environment – not to mention, chatting with Sybil allows him indulge in his artistic aspect. Seymour makes up a excellent tale about the life and behavior of bananafish, and is tickled pink – in a non-sexual way – when Sybil plays alongside. Regrettably, he has issues dropping this mischievousness when he will get again to the hotel. He jokingly accuses the lady in the elevator of “staring” at his ft, and, in a stunt that only an adult would pull, the lady gets offended by the insinuation. The argument escalates until Seymour results in being truly indignant alternatively of just fake offended, and the lady flees from the elevator. Acknowledging that he just doesn’t gel with grownups any more, Seymour provides up hope of currently being joyful and ends his lifetime.

With so lots of thoughts from “A Best Day for Bananafish” unanswered, it’s no wonder that Salinger went on to attribute Seymour in four more tales, most importantly in the two-parter “[Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction].” In these two novellas, Seymour’s devoted tiny brother, Buddy, undertakes the problem of placing Seymour to paper. The actuality that his crafting is normally rambling, disjointed, and difficult to comply with indicates that probably we are just not meant to know.

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