Symbolism In A Perfect Day For Bananafish

1966 Words8 Pages
J.D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” provokes the reader with many questions as to why Seymour chose to end his life so dramatically. The short story incorporates a variety of symbols such as the character’s name, Seymour Glass, to develop a deeper interpretation of the story. “Seymour, as noted, “sees more” than the average person, and like glass, is easily broken” (“A Perfect Day for Bananafish”). Salinger was not heedless to the reasoning behind this name chosen for one of the most illustrious characters in his short story collection. The author is suggesting that Seymour sees beyond the materialistic world which makes him more vulnerable to the horrors that come along with it. Seymour’s wife represents all of the materialism in…show more content…
“The Bananafish may also be symbolic of Seymour himself, who (like many young men) was lured into the “banana hole” of war and figuratively consumed so many years of the war’s horrors that he is now unable to come out of the hole and reintegrate himself into the world of non-combatants” (“A Perfect Day for Bananafish”). Its proposed that, like the Bananafish, Seymour has glutted himself with the horrors of the war and can no longer get himself out of the “banana hole” he is stuck in. Seymour describes a Bananafish as a “very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I 've known some Bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas” (Salinger). It is possible that Seymour went into to the war and was confronted with the murder and hatred that has never consumed him before. Thus, opening his eyes to the horrors of the world and could no longer recover, leaving him stuck in a hole. When a Bananafish gets stuck in a hole, they end up dying and according to Seymour, “They get banana fever. It’s a terrible disease” (Salinger). Ultimately, Salinger seems to be suggesting that banana fever can be compared to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Seymour has developed from his war experience. It is evident that the war has created some issues within…show more content…
In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”, the character Muriel is developed from her actions that take place inside of her Florida hotel room and the conversation she has with her mother over the phone. “As the telephone dialogue unfolds her character, our initial indication is reinforced and amplified; we come to see that, for all her chic and poise, Muriel is basically simple- and basically corrupt” (Lane). It is proposed that Salinger used the phone dialogue to make Muriel seem narcissistic and overcritical of her surroundings. Before Muriel even answers the phone call from her mother, she completes frivolous tasks “She washed her comb and brush. She took the spot out of the skirt of her beige suit. She moved the button on her Saks blouse. She tweezed out two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole. When the operator finally rang her room, she was sitting on the window seat and had almost finished putting lacquer on the nails of her left hand” (Salinger). Muriel’s use of time reflects her shallowness and vanity as she sits around in her hotel room all day. Muriel meets with a psychiatrist to talk about Seymour and the only information she had to report to her mother was that “his wife was horrible” and she wore an “awful dinner dress” (Salinger). Muriel does not make an effort to discuss Seymour’s sickness with the doctor because the bar “was terribly noisy” (Salinger). Salinger’s use of indirect characterization proves Muriel to be self-obsessed, and too preoccupied with
Open Document