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

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

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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 Seymour’s unstable, troubled mind. Seymour’s demise shows the importance of true communication and the expression of such emotions. By releasing societal pressures and not allowing oneself to be plagued by materialistic ideals, one can truly achieve a stable state of mind. Through the use of symbolism, foreshadowing, and motif, J.D. Salinger's short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” communicates the theme that effective communication is often a monumental struggle.
Salinger uses the sun as a symbol for the effects of materialism. If the sun represents the “burn” or impact of materialism on an individual, then Muriel, suffering from a painful sunburn, is engulfed by a materialistic world. Seymour, on the other hand, pale and guarded from the sun’s penetrating rays, exists sheltered and excluded from materialistic society, choosing to dwell on simpler, childlike pleasures. Muriel’s mother tells her daughter, “My goodness, he [Seymour] needs the sun. Can't you make him?" (Salinger 5). This insta...

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...7. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
Moran, Daniel. "Critical Essay on 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish.'" Short Stories for Students. Ed. David A. Galens. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 2003.Literature Resource Center. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
"Overview: 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish.'" Short Stories for Students. Ed. David A. Galens. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.
Salinger, J. D. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." Nine Stories. 3-9. Excerpt from Nine Stories. PDF file.
Stevick, Philip. "J(erome) D(avid) Salinger." American Short-Story Writers, 1910-1945: Second Series. Ed. Bobby Ellen Kimbel. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 102. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.

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