Mental Illness In A Perfect Day For Bananafish By Jerome Salinger

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Mental illness, a wide range of conditions that affect one’s mood, thoughts and behavior. The amount of cases regarding mental illness has increased significantly throughout the 19th century. Much of this growth in mental illness cases are attributed to individuals partaking in warfare and on the other end of the spectrum, trying to fit into society’s pre-established images of what it means to be the ideal breadwinner for the family or housewife. In Jerome Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Seymour is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition triggered by experiencing a terrifying event. While on vacation with his wife, Seymour decides to go down to the beach where he meets a young girl named…show more content…
While trying to align with the social persona of what the ideal man or woman should be, the suffering individual needs to be able to look deeper into what it is that is exactly causing their mental illness. The ability to be treated remains in the hands of both the individual and the doctor. The patient needs to be open minded when it comes to receiving treatment to improve the individual’s mental state. Being restrained to a room, however, does the opposite to the patient trying to recover. Just as Seymour explained the bananafish being stuck in the hole after eating too many bananas, it relates to the narrator never leaving her house. A doctor may argue that it gives the patient the ability to reflect on what is going on in their mind. Being kept in a room, removed from society was said to also eliminate the image or role that an individual felt the need to fulfill. While the portrayal of being the ideal housewife or breadwinner is removed, it still is not completely forgotten, but paid less attention to. The narrator in Gilman’s “Yellow Wallpaper” was driven crazy when placed in her child’s nursery. She was unable to live up to the role of being a fit mother and wife due to her mental state. Her husband John, doubles as her significant other as well as her doctor. While he and the narrator’s brother both believe that there is nothing really wrong with her except “temporary nervous depression” (Gilman, 302) she still believes that there is still something much deeper that only she can understand. During this time period of her not being mentally stable the narrator writes in her hidden journal that she is “absolutely forbidden from “work” until I am well again” (303). Her “doctor” explains that this will help her, but the only thing that this is doing is taking her away from

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