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Historical analysis of "A perfect day for bananafish" by J.D. Salinger

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Treść: “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” is the most popular short story by J.D. Salinger. It is about the suicide of Seymour Glass. The story is set in 1948 in Florida, where he and his wife, Muriel, went on vacation. Other significant characters are Muriel’s mother, who disliked Seymour, and Sybil Carpenter, a little girl that Seymour met on the beach and conversed with.
As I already mentioned the story is set in 1948. This time period is significant because of two things. First of all, the story takes place three years after World War II. J.D. Salinger was a staff sergeant in U.S. Army and served in Europe from 1942 to 1946. After the war he received five battle stars. During the war soldiers saw so many awful things like holocaust, starving people, or death of their friends and families. It is said that it affected soldiers’ mentalities in that way they could return from the war psychically injured. Seymour, the protagonist of “A Perfect Day For Bananafish”, was placed in U.S. Army, and fought in Germany. From the conversation between Muriel and her mother, we acknowledged that Seymour not acted normally after he came back from the war. He destroyed “all those lovely pictures from Bermuda”, for example. The contrast between psychotic Seymour and Seymour with Sybil is so emphatic, that we can conclude that his mother-in-law made up her story about Seymour. J.D. Salinger used a motif of Spiritual Tramp to convey this belief. Seymour called his wife like this, but he should say it of Muriel’s mother.
The second thing significant about this time period is that J.D. Salinger started to be interested in Zen attitudes toward life and art. It began in the 1940’s when he visited Rama Krishna-Vivekananda Center in New York. According to these Zen attitudes, a suicide is not a defeat, but a triumph. Seymour wanted to escape from this “Phony” world and spiritual vulgarity, so he shot himself in the head in his hotel room. J.D. Salinger employed imagery to describe the whole scene. He also used a symbol to embrace this Zen attitude. A bananafish is a symbol of those people, who live in this “phony” world. When they realize they have enough of life’s corruption, there is no way out; they have to die.
One obvious conclusion that can be drawn from my analysis is that this particular period of 1940’s was significant to “A Perfect Day For Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger. It is interesting how he complemented World War II and the Zen beliefs. The story has a very dramatic ending, what completely changed my view on that story. Now the bananafish story told by Seymour Glass makes sense. I agree with that suicide is a triumph, not a defeat when you live in a “phony” world.

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⇒Dodano: 2008-10-28 18:33:38
⇒Czytano: 4616
Autor: Mafej

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