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J.D. Salinger's Story A Perfect Day For Bananafish

2028 words - 8 pages

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 illness. Instead she kept using the excuse that it was too loud to talk. Seymour seems to no longer be in love with Muriel. When Sybil asks about her, Seymour responds in an irritated and smart kind of way. He says that, "She may be in any one of a thousand places. At the hairdresser's. Having her hair dyed mink. Or making dolls for poor children, in her room" (12). He knows very well that Muriel would not be making dolls for poor children in her room because it has nothing to do with herself and that is all she cares about.
Not only is Seymour sick of Muriel's way of life but also he often picks at her about it and they all think that what he is saying is due to his illness. For example when Muriel is talking to her mother on the phone, she says that Seymour is on the beach. Muriel tells her mother that Seymour will not take his bathrobe off while he is lying on the beach. "He says he doesn't want a lot of fools looking at his tattoo." (10). When Muriel tells her mother this is why he does not take his robe off, her mother replies that he does not have any tattoos. Which is true. Seymour toys with Muriel and her mother...

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