Bananafish Essay, Research Paper
In the short story A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger, the fact that Seymour Glass is experiencing severe mental problems is undeniable. The way in which he conducts himself, and the way the order of events took place on the day of his death make for a bizarre scenario, which makes his strange sickness evident. Although he goes about his day with certain odd characteristics of his appearance and his actions, he seems to be at peace with himself for the majority of the story (while he was with Sybill). It is when he goes home and takes his own life in the direct presence of his wife when one can say that this man had many disturbing thoughts crammed in his fragile mind. When picking apart the entire story, there are infinite possibilities for the reason in which he acted so weird and ended up committing suicide. The only cause that seems to be definite is his involvement in the war.
It is clearly evident that the war invoked serious psychological damage within the mind of Seymour. Due to the state of mind that he is in, the way he views the surrounding world is as an extremely polluted and corrupt place. He is very particular in the way that he thinks of things and can be set off as easily as a time bomb. The reason in which Seymour takes an immediate liking to the little girl Sybil is that he sees the priceless innocence that lies within her. At such a fragile, young age, a person s mind is still fresh
and has yet to be impacted by the negative aspects of the world. Throughout the war, Seymour probably experienced such horrifying things ranging from killing an enemy soldier in cold blood to seeing his own comrades lying dead on the ground, covered in blood and ravaged by bullets and explosives. It is these experiences that have led him to the realization that the world is a cruel place in which he cannot escape from. Thus, he envies the little girl because she has not seen such things yet and has her whole life ahead of her. He sees all of the possibilities in Sybil and hopes that she cherishes this time in her life and rises above the evils that are omnipresent in this world. With all of the materialistic people and attitudes around, he does not want a negative impact exerted upon her due to these tainted ideals.
This whole obsession of innocence that Seymour has explains some of the things that he does during the day. One example is the whole ordeal with his feet when he flips out on the woman in the elevator. When Seymour kisses Sybil s foot at the beach, he sees a pure and innocent foot, representing what he envies among all other things in life at this point. When he looks/thinks of his feet he sees the feet of a man bludgeoned by terrifying experiences, and one who has seen too much of a materialistic world in his time. He hates the fact that he is living with all of these terrible things running through his mind at all times. These are the violent thoughts corrupting his mind, leading him to blatantly commit suicide.