A Great Working day For Dissecting J.D. Salinger’s Bananafish

J.D. Salinger’s 1951 traditional small story, “A Great Working day for Bananafish,” introduces Salinger’s favourite character, Seymour Glass – only to kill him some quite a few webpages later. The story begins in a posh seaside hotel home, where by we overhear Glass’s spouse on the cellular phone with her mom talking about Seymour’s mental … Continue reading “A Great Working day For Dissecting J.D. Salinger’s Bananafish”

J.D. Salinger’s 1951 traditional small story, “A Great Working day for Bananafish,” introduces Salinger’s favourite character, Seymour Glass – only to kill him some quite a few webpages later. The story begins in a posh seaside hotel home, where by we overhear Glass’s spouse on the cellular phone with her mom talking about Seymour’s mental well being. From there, we head to the beach, where by Seymour is hanging out with a four-ish-yr aged female named Sybil and telling her tales about the elusive “bananafish.” The story finishes with Seymour returning to his hotel home and capturing himself in the head.

Seymour Glass, or, as Sybil calls him, “see extra glass,” is a hotly contested small story character in American literature – which gives his oh-so transparent name all the extra irony. Men and women can not seem to be to concur on what the man is like, why he’s often hanging out with little young children, or, most importantly, why he decides to kill himself. There are 3 main theories on the subject.

Principle A single: Seymour is a bananafish. No, genuinely. In the description he gives to Sybil, bananafish are fish that swim into holes and gorge on so lots of bananas that they get trapped and die. According to some, this is Seymour’s unorthodox but fitting metaphor for the materialistic purchaser mentality of post-WWII American modern society – not that we’d know anything about that these days. This of course begs the issue, what does Seymour’s suicide signify? Is going back again to his fancy-shmancy hotel home and killing himself the human equal of diving into a banana gap and ingesting to loss of life? That could possibly explain why Sybil thinks she sees a bananafish – she could be chatting about Seymour. OR, maybe Seymour’s suicide is a way of overcoming the content environment: by leaving it entirely.

Principle Two: Seymour is a pervert. Yup, all that befriending and swimming and story-telling is just his way of obtaining shut to little girls. You can expect to observe, for occasion, that Seymour grabs Sybil’s ankles when he is lying on the beach, then all over again when he pushes her together the drinking water. When he goes so significantly as to kiss the base of her foot, even four-yr-aged Sybil is weirded out adequate to yell, “Hey!” likely remembering some thing she read in preschool about a “red-light contact.” Humiliated and/or discouraged, Seymour straight away finishes their engage in date, heads back again to the hotel, and kills himself in disgrace. The fact that sexual abuse is an ambiguous but recurring topic in J.D. Salinger’s other will work, notably in The Catcher in the Rye, supports the risk that some thing is improper with Seymour’s libido.

Principle 3: Everybody has gotten way way too P.C. A contact is just not essentially inappropriate, a kiss is just not often sexual, adults and children can hold out in non-creepy means, and literature doesn’t often have “erotic undertones.” Seymour is drawn to the innocence and guilelessness of children for the reason that his experiences in WWII have manufactured him really feel disillusioned with the grownup environment – not to mention, chatting with Sybil lets him indulge in his imaginative aspect. Seymour tends to make up a excellent story about the life and habits of bananafish, and is tickled pink – in a non-sexual way – when Sybil performs together. Unfortunately, he has hassle dropping this mischievousness when he will get back again to the hotel. He jokingly accuses the female in the elevator of “staring” at his feet, and, in a stunt that only an grownup would pull, the female will get offended by the insinuation. The argument escalates till Seymour becomes truly angry rather of just pretend angry, and the female flees from the elevator. Realizing that he just doesn’t gel with adults any longer, Seymour gives up hope of becoming content and finishes his daily life.

With so lots of concerns from “A Great Working day for Bananafish” unanswered, it really is no question that Salinger went on to function Seymour in four extra tales, most importantly in the two-parter “[Raise Significant the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction].” In these two novellas, Seymour’s devoted little brother, Buddy, undertakes the challenge of putting Seymour to paper. The fact that his crafting is frequently rambling, disjointed, and unachievable to follow implies that it’s possible we’re just not intended to know.



Supply by Paul Thomson