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Essay on J.D. Salinger's story A Perfect Day for Bananafish

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Seymour Glass is a war veteran on vacation with his wife Muriel. He seems to suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome because of the war. He recently has tried to commit suicide twice. Once by driving his father-in-law's car into a tree and again by trying to jump out a window. J.D. Salinger's story, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," seems to be a simple story about a couple on vacation in Florida and his encounter with a child named Sybil on the beach. Seymour's relationship with Sybil after further examination allows one to see that what really is taking place is Seymour's search for truth and innocence in the world.
Seymour Glass wants more in life than what he has. He is married to a very upper class, materialistic woman named Muriel. "She was a girl who a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing. She looked as if her phone had been ringing continually ever since she had reached puberty" (Nine Stories, 3). Muriel is a very self-absorbed woman who only cares about her appearance and reputation. She seems to care very little about what Seymour is going through. They are supposedly on vacation for Seymour to get away from everything but as she is talking to her mother on the phone she refuses to leave when her mother urges her to because she has not had a vacation in a very long time. Also, she does not seem to be very concerned about what is going on with her husband because although she told her mother that she had spoken to a doctor downstairs about Seymour it seemed as though she really did not want to continue the conversation with the doctor because it looked bad for her that her husband was dealing with a mental il...


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...because he sees that the openness he has with Sybil is not possible with these adults. He lashes out on the woman by calling her a sneak. When he has this confrontation with the woman in the elevator, he then realizes that the life he wants is not possible. When the woman leaves the elevator, she does not look back which can show that she does not want to encounter Seymour again, the adult world has no room for him at all anymore. Seymour cannot be like all of the others nor can he be a child. This is the reason for his suicide. He does not do it because of some illness he has because of the war but he does it because since he is now an adult he cannot have an innocent and truthful life like a child. Muriel was so self- absorbed that she could not even see this is what he wanted but a child was able to give him that life just for a moment.


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