The short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J. D. Salinger was a literary work that surrounded the idea of an unhappy outsider criticizing a troubled and oftentimes materialistic society and the unbinding nature of children. In the story, the protagonist was Seymour Glass, while his mind was the antagonist. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” begins with Muriel, Seymour’s wife, waiting on a phone call to be wired through from her probing mother.
From the dialogue between Muriel and her mother, you can gather that Seymour was just returning from a war and was working to cope with the trauma from the war and dealing with finding his place to re-enter society. Seymour Glass was battling with more of an internal struggle; dealing with a world he felt he had no place in and dealing with his post traumatic stress alone. I believe Salinger depicted this hardship in the story when Muriel told her mother during their conversation of how he would spend hours laying on a crowded beach covered up in his bathrobe.
I believe that this was symbolic in that it represented how he felt the need to seclude himself from everyone around him. The character of Seymour develops over the course of the story, beginning with the foreshadowing of Glass’ character in the talk between his wife, Muriel and his mother in law. The development is not seen until he has a conversation with his young friend, Sybil. It was during this, that the reader gains an insight on how he feels when he begins to tell his friend a story. In the story, the bananafish were just ordinary fish that traveled to the waters to get into this cave.
This cave was full of all of the bananas these fishes could dream of eating. Once they entered these caves, these fish became scavengers eating a lot of bananas. When it finally came time for them to leave, they were unable ti escape and return into the water. After some short analyzing, the readers can see the complexities in his story that he tells to Sybil and see how they were symbolic in the way that he saw himself. When this story is applied to Seymour, he was this ordinary man who enlisted into the military and was sent to this foreign land.
Once he reached his destination, he became a scavenger, something common during times of war. When the time finally came for him to come back and reintegrate into society, he was unable to. He was unable to escape. Ironically, when Sybil said that she had spotted the bananafish — the bananafish to escape was Seymour. I believe that Seymour faced a great deal of struggle with people wanting to know what happened to or to always talk about how he was feeling. Society is judgmental, so I think that he felt that despite what they wanted to know or them wanting to talk about things – they did not really care at all.
I do not believe that he had trouble making friends, seeing as he befriended two little girls (Sybil and Sharon), but with the differences between the adults in society and these children, they just allowed him to be himself and were pure in how they were. In the end of the story, I think that the conflict was resolved. Despite the tragic ending of it resulting in a murder-suicide, I think that the ending would be similar to finding the peace after waking from a nightmare. Reference Salinger, J. D. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish. ” My Own Resources ESL/EFL. N. d. 10 Oct. 2011