Buildup of Emotions and Lack of Communication: A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Sallinger

1322 Words6 Pages
The human mind, only able to withstand so much pressure before losing control, is like a volcano. The harsh truths that accumulate throughout the course of one’s life can lead to devastation, the eruption of the mind’s volcano. American twentieth century author, J.D. Salinger, illustrates the devastating consequences caused by a buildup of emotions and a lack of communication in his short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Salinger “has become, in biographer Ian Hamilton's phrase, ‘famous for not wanting to be famous’ ” (Stevick). In this short story, Salinger details the interactions of the main character, Seymour Glass, with Sybil Carpenter, a young girl. Through these interactions, Salinger provides the reader with a glimpse into…show more content…
However, Muriel fails to truly understand her husband’s motives, perhaps playing a role in his demise. Seymour seeks shelter, for his “war experiences have left him so badly shaken that he searches for some form of purity in what he sees as a dangerous and corrupt world” (“Overview: ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish.’ ”). Unbeknown to the individuals surrounding him, Seymour yearns for refuge from the painful truths of society. By using the sun as a symbol for materialism, Salinger highlights the detriments of being immersed in a materialistic world with nowhere to turn. Salinger also uses the bananafish as a symbol for Seymour’s internal emotional struggle to suggest the harsh consequences resulting from a buildup of emotions. The story of the bananafish, which Seymour communicates to Sybil, shares a striking resemblance to Seymour’s emotional and social situation. The bananafish ultimately succumbs to a death resulting from eating too many bananas and therefore being too large to escape the banana hole. Seymour tells Sybil, “Naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. Can't fit through the door” (Salinger 8). Similarly, Seymour, overwhelmed by the jarring reality of life and plagued by feelings of wretched dejection and isolation, becomes unable to escape his situation. Salinger’s use of symbolism is important because, as Fassano writes, “If he [Seymour] represents the bananafish, then his case of banana fever must be caused by the

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