A Perfect Day For Bananafish Analysis

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Seymour’s Bananafish and an Impossible Pursuit of Innocence In Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Second World War veteran Seymour struggles to navigate through his dissatisfaction towards the materialism of the modern world and his impossible desire to return to the pure and uncorrupted state of innocence. Seymour’s wife, Muriel and mother-in-law both typify the vapidity that he so despises, all the while revealing through their conversation the external circumstances that have shaped him. Meanwhile, through Sybil, the child with whom Seymour shares a deep spiritual connection, Salinger reveals Seymour’s consequent tormented and complex psyche. The leitmotif of bananafish, which in their fatal insatiability symbolise adult…show more content…
Seymour sees blue where there is yellow (6) and trees where there are none (3). His wife sees no cause for concern in his health (4). On a scale between the vapid materialism that Seymour’s wife and mother-in-law represent and the weary disillusionment of Seymore, Sybil stands staunchly in the happy middle ground of childhood innocence. In Seymour’s eyes, Sybil, with her “winglike” shoulder blades, “huge, inflatable beach ball,” which resembles a globe, and “a foot in a soggy, collapsed castle” (6) is godlike in her innocence (Bryan 228-229). Critic James E. Bryan additionally states that Seymour’s seemingly random and cruel treatment towards Muriel’s Granny is proof of his disdain not simply towards the degeneracy that adulthood entails but in fact “adulthood at large” (Bryan 228). The final, fatal irony lies wherein the bananafish that Sybil sees in the ocean is Seymour, which leads to the tragic recognition that he is, after all, closer to the materialistic grown up world than divine
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