Bananafish Essay

Just why did Seymour kill himself Picture walking into a hotel room and finding
a man dead on a bed. Upon closer inspection it becomes obvious that he has
supposedly taken his own life with the gun that lay beside him. In talking to
his wife who was asleep on the bed next to him when this incident occurred, it
is learned that he just walked in the door and shot himself late the previous
night. Out of the many questions that could be asked from this story, I believe
that it is probably extremely important to consider why the main character,
Seymour Glass, decided to commit suicide. What I believe to be the reason for
Seymour’s suicide has two basic components: the spiritual depravity of the
world around him, and his struggle with his own spiritual shortcomings. The
spiritual problem of the outside world is mostly a matter of material greed,
especially in the west, and materialism. On the other hand, his own spiritual
problem is more a matter of intellectual greed and true spiritualism. In
addressing the suicide, the difference should be distinguished between the
“See More Glass” that we see through little Sybil’s eyes, and the
Seymour Glass that we see through the eyes of the adult world. Even though these
two characters are in theory the same man, they are slightly different in some
ways. You could also say that they are the same character in different stages of
development. Whatever the case may be, the “reasons” for the suicide
shift slightly in emphasis as the character changes. “A Perfect Day for
Bananafish” attempts to symbolize that the bananas in See More Glass’s
story represent all of the things which are taken in along the journey to
adulthood. If pursued with too much zeal, these bananas can prevent spiritual
development and lead to a greater materialistic development. See-More has
realized that he cannot get rid of enough bananas to make any further spiritual
progress in this life, so, rather than waste time, he commits suicide. This is
slightly obvious when he is taking the elevator back up to his room on the night
of the suicide. His fixation upon his feet, which do not resemble the childlike
feet that he desires to have, and the woman in the elevator’s scorn towards
Seymour’s accusing her of staring at his feet, drive him to dislike the adult
world even more. He is the bananafish who cannot escape the hole and achieve the
spiritualism and childlike characteristics that he so desires. In his opinion,
he believes that this suicide will give him the chance that he wants and needs:
to start all over again. The anti-materialism of the story must also has to be
considered in talking about the suicide. Salinger, perhaps still a little
reluctant in 1948 to abandon his own anti-materialism that appears to me to be
an early preoccupation of his, in favor of simple materialism and
anti-spiritualism, leaves much of the former scattered throughout the story.

Seymour’s wife, Muriel’s name both looks and sounds like the word”material”. This could possibly symbolize that she, like her mother, is
shallow, fashion-conscious, and unwilling to learn German in order to read
delicate, world-weary poets like Rilke. Destroying Seymour even more is Sybil’s
reference to the greedy tigers in “Little Black Sambo” and her
connection to Eliot’s “Wasteland”. This suggests that even this
youthful girl has begun to develop a problem with material fixation and
spiritual neglect. These strains of anti-materialism in the story complicate the
suicide because they suggest that Seymour is opting out of a world that is too
materially inclined for him, instead of one in which he himself is responsible
for his own unhappiness and spiritual depravity. Both sets of circumstances,
Seymour’s own intellectual greed along with the general material greed by
which he is sure, truly contribute to his suicide. The reasons for Seymour’s
suicide are thus proven to be muddled in “Bananafish,” with several
different factors coming into play. The interpretation of Seymour obtained from
the story is that he is troubled by his own spiritual shortcomings (the result
of too much intellectual treasure) as much as by the shortcomings of the people
and the world around him. These factors ultimately lead to his suicide.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Bananafish Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out