A Perfect Day For A Bananafish Essay

A Perfect Day For A Bananafish Essay

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This current cultural environment of materialism during the post-World War II period inspired J.D Salinger to pen the short story “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish.” It is a story that details the suicide of Seymour Glass. Salinger, in his story, critiques the materialist consumerism that arose after the second world war. The American society has not been severely impacted by the war in comparison to Europe. The country was also doing well finally, and the economic prosperity that arises during the war meant that a large number of the population has sufficient finances to make unnecessary purchases (Franssen, 158). This lead to the emergence of a society that was characterized by greediness and spendthrifts. Essentially, suicide is an accomplishment in a "phony" society that is based on materialism.

The story is set in Florida in 1948. Salinger and his wife go to the state for a vacation. The story occurs three years after the World War II, and it is an important time in history. Salinger worked as a staff sergeant in the Army, and he served in the war from 1942 to 1946. He was awarded five battle stars for his participation in the war (Franssen, 159). The war was comprised of many disturbing events. The soldiers saw many dreadful occurrences such as starvation, death, and the Holocaust. The issue affected the soldiers tremendously, and the emotional impact of the war could be seen in the soldiers who returned home.

The country’s economic progress arose from the minimal impact of the war back home in comparison to the destruction and devastation in Europe. The prosperity urging this period

deviated tremendously with the period of scarcity that occurred during the war and the great depression before the war. This meant that many p...


... middle of paper ...


...r wanted to escape from spiritual vulgarity and “phony” world (Schneider, 203). This led to the suicide where he shot himself in the hotel room. Salinger applied an imagery to detail the whole scene. Furthermore, he also used a symbol as a means to accommodate the Zen beliefs. Essentially, a Bananafish is used as a symbol of the individual who resides in “phony” world (Franssen, 160). Once the individual realizes that they are satisfied with the corruption that is in life, then they should die.

In conclusion, the 1940s was an important period for Salinger. He relied on competing Zen beliefs and the attributes that arose during the post-Second World War period, in this case,

materialism. The author used a very dramatic ending that changed my view about the entire story. I do concur that suicide can be a trump rather than being defeated when living in a “phony” world.

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