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Salinger , originally published in the January 31, , issue of The New Yorker. The story is an enigmatic examination of a young married couple, Muriel and Seymour Glass, while on vacation in Florida. When twenty-eight-year-old Salinger submitted the manuscript to The New Yorker in January , titled "The Bananafish",  its arresting dialogue and precise style  were read with interest by fiction editor William Maxwell and his staff, though the point of the story, in this original version, was deemed incomprehensible.
At Maxwell's urging, Salinger embarked upon a major reworking of the piece, adding the opening section with Muriel's character, and crafting the material to provide insights into Seymour's tragic demise. The effort was met with immediate acclaim, and according to Salinger biographer Paul Alexander, it was "the story that would permanently change his standing in the literary community. The story is set at an upscale seaside resort in Florida. Muriel Glass, a wealthy and self-absorbed woman, phones her mother from her suite to discuss Muriel's husband Seymour, a World War II combat veteran recently discharged from an army hospital; it is implied that he was being evaluated for a psychiatric disorder.
Muriel dismisses her remarks as hyperbole, regarding her husband's idiosyncrasies as benign and manageable. Neither of the women express concern that Seymour's irrational behavior may indicate that he is suffering emotionally. Meanwhile, at the resort's adjoining beach, a child named Sybil Carpenter has been left unsupervised by her mother so that she may drink at the hotel bar. Sybil reproaches Seymour for allowing another little girl, Sharon Lipschutz, to sit with him the previous night as he played the lounge piano for the hotel's guests.
Seymour responds that he observed Sybil abusing a hotel patron's dog, and the girl falls silent. Seymour places Sybil on a rubber raft and wades into the water, where he tells her the story of "the very tragic life" of the bananafish: they gorge themselves on bananas, become too large to escape their feeding holes, and die.
Seymour affectionately kisses the arch of one of her feet, and returns her to shore, where she departs. Once alone, and returning to the hotel, Seymour becomes less affable. He starts a baseless argument with a woman in an elevator, accusing her of staring at his feet and calling her a "god-damned sneak". He returns to his hotel room, where his wife is taking a nap.
He retrieves a pistol from his luggage and shoots himself. Before publication of the story, Salinger had reworked the details in a meeting with William Maxwell. Maxwell argued that there was no clear explanation that justified Seymour killing himself.
Despite some differing critical opinion, Salinger's Nine Stories, in which "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appears, are not separate entities published together. D Salinger, observes that the stories evolve chronologically. Author Ron Rosenbaum draws from Margaret Salinger's memories to elicit a connection between Salinger's progression from bleak to optimistic, and the spiritual writing style in Nine Stories. Salinger was also greatly influenced by Ernest Hemingway 's writing style and narration method.
Hemingway writes in such a way that the reader has to interpret and draw his or her own conclusions when characters are speaking. The vague description common to Hemingway's narrative dialogue appears in several of Salinger's stories and novels. Though "Slight Rebellion Off Madison" was published in the New Yorker and met with acclaim , Salinger continued to face rejection afterwards. The New Yorker consistently dismissed further stories submitted by Salinger.
Unfazed, Salinger continued to submit work to the New Yorker because he believed that the editors of the magazine would publish more of his stories. After sending the initial draft entitled "The Bananafish" to the New Yorker , Harold Ober , agent of the author, received a letter from William Maxwell, a fiction editor at the magazine.
Salinger very much, but it seems to us to lack any discernible story or point. If Mr. Salinger is around town, perhaps he'd like to come in and talk to us about New Yorker stories. When "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" was first published, the initial reception and criticism of the short story was positive.
Readers were accepting of the new tone being presented to literature through Salinger's short stories, and it was the release of "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" that popularized Salinger's name in the literary community.
Much of the criticism regarding the story involves the character of Seymour Glass, who makes an appearance in several other of Salinger's short stories. Most of the content fueling Seymour's criticism involves his war experiences and suicide. Critics interpret evidence from the story to determine what the actual cause of Seymour's suicide was due to conflicting reasoning presented in other stories that include the Glass family.
Some believe it was the entire world that drove Seymour to madness while others draw a connection to post-traumatic stress. This "dualism" can be found in other works of Salinger, as he continually depicts life "as a battleground between the normal and abnormal, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the talentless and the gifted, the well and the sick. Like the eldest son of the Glass family , Salinger was deeply affected by his experiences as a combat soldier in WWII, and these informed his writing.
Children figure prominently in Salinger's works. Salinger quotes a verse from the poem The Waste Land by poet T. Eliot in the following exchange between Seymour and Sybil, regarding the little girl's young rival, Sharon Lipschutz:. Mixing memory and desire. He looked at the ocean. We'll see if we can catch a bananafish. April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire , stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
Slawenski argues that Salinger's choice of the name Sybil for the little girl establishes an "unmistakable" correlation between Eliot's depiction of the Cumaean Sybil of Greek myth and Seymour's story of the bananafish. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Short story. New York. American Masters. Retrieved A Reader's Guide to J. D Salinger. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. Papers on Language and Literature.
Salinger's War Stories". Christian Scholar's Review. CLA Journal. The New Yorker. The New York Review of Books. Blake, Bailey January 31, Salinger, J. Nine Stories. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Slawenski, Kenneth Salinger: A Life. New York: Random House. The Catcher in the Rye. Book Category. Categories : Short stories by J. Hidden categories: Articles with short description. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Contribute Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish
In , J. This event was a major step in his literary career. First, it brought Salinger serious critical acclaim. Second, it established a working relationship between the author and The New Yorker.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish Analysis
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