Mental Effects of War in A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger Essay

Mental Effects of War in A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger Essay

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Smoke rises up from the charred ground as the sounds of guns and screams die out, leaving behind bloody bodies and a chilling silence. War is a horrifying event that leaves soldiers with troubling memories that haunt them for the rest of their lives. Along with other soldiers, J.D. Salinger lived his life with painful memories of war. Mental problems that developed from these terrible experiences were rarely treated; those who were hospitalized and “cured” still had lingering mental issues. After World War II, America did not focus on the mental health of soldiers. So, Salinger decided to bring awareness to the issue through entertaining and realistic short stories. As a result of his traumatizing experience in World War II, J.D. Salinger set out to expose the mental effects of war through characters and symbolism in “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”.
Even in his childhood, his involvement with both the military and literature was evident. Born on New Year’s Day in 1919, Salinger spent his childhood in New York. Although he was intelligent, he was not a good student and flunked out of McBurney School. Salinger was then sent off to Valley Forge Military Academy for the remainder of his high school years. At the military academy, he “became the literary editor of the school yearbook,” (McGrath). This was the beginning of his interest in writing. After graduating, Salinger attended many colleges but the one that was the most critical to his success as a writer was Columbia College in New York. There, he met Professor Whit Burnett, the editor of Story Magazine. Burnett published some of Salinger’s early short stories. Soon, Salinger even had some stories appear in well-known magazines, such as the Saturday Evening Post (“J.D. Salinger B...


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...s that affected him for the rest of his life. Since few understood how damaged returning soldiers were, Salinger exposed the truth to the public through accessible and intriguing short stories. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” was a meaningful story that depicted the consequences of post-war trauma.



Works Cited
“J.D. Salinger Biography.” The Biography Channel Website. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Wed. 16 Mar. 2014.
“J.D. Salinger and PTSD.” Stand for the Troops. Stand for the Troops News and Blog, 15 Feb. 2011. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
McGrath, Charles. “J.D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 28 Jan. 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
Salinger, J.D. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Nine Stories. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1991. 3-18. Print.
“World War II (1939-1945).” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.

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