Bananafish Essay Research Paper EssayInnocence LostThe world

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Bananafish Essay, Research Paper Essay: Innocence Lost The world of childhood is protected from many of the problems of the world. The adult world is mentally, physically, and socially an adjustment that can be very difficult for some people. There is sometimes a reluctance to accept adulthood. In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” as well as “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut,” J.D. Salinger focuses not only on the loss of innocence with youth, but also on events that have changed his characters forever. Ironically, it is often the children, seemingly the perfect models of carefree life and thought, who make this loss most evident. The main character in Salinger’s story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” is Seymour Glass. He is married to a woman named Muriel, whose 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. In the story, Seymour and his wife Muriel have gone to Florida for a vacation like the one they had before the war. Muriel’s parents are worried about her because of Seymour’s behavior since his discharge from the military. They believe he has gone crazy, yet this is not quite the case. Living through the war has stripped Seymour of his “inner child.” The things he saw and experienced were too horrible to forget. Because of this, Seymour has lost his innocence, and its presence was greatly missed. In the story, Seymour meets a little girl, four-year-old Sybil.

One day at the beach Sybil asks her mother, “Did you see more glass?” Her mother becomes annoyed and tells her to run off and play. It was then that Sybil meets up with “see more glass” on the beach. There, Seymour is reluctant to remove his beach robe because he wants to cover his “tattoos”; to Seymour they were an “adult” decoration. These tattoos couldn’t be seen, but they were felt. To Seymour, they were imaginary marks of adulthood, which he resented. Later on the beach, Seymour tells Sybil, “We’ll see if we can catch a bananafish.” He tells the young girl a tale of fish who swim into holes filled with bananas. These bananafish then gorge themselves on the fruit and, too fat to swim out of the holes, die of banana fever. Like these bananafish, phonies

of the world are guilty of bingeing themselves with meaningless material objects until they become so superficial they are beyond hope of ever attaining spiritual purity. These people are intentional bananafishes. Seymour, like the bananafish, desires the innocence, the childhood that was wrapped before him in a yellow package. However, when Sybil admits she sees a bananafish with six bananas in its mouth, Seymour realizes that she is already on the path toward becoming a superficial bananafish. In a few years Sybil will be like her mother, interested only in how another woman has her scarf tied. At the end of their play-time, Seymour suddenly picks up one of Sybil’s feet, kisses the arch, and announces, “We’re going in now.” He returns to the hotel and gets into the

elevator with a young woman, whom he accuses of looking at his feet. The woman denies his accusations, which angers Seymour even more. He then tells her, “If you want to look at my feet, say so, but don’t be a God-damned sneak about it.” Seymour’s 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 accusations, drive him to dislike the adult world even more. Seymour is the bananafish who cannot escape the hole and achieve the spiritualism and childlike characteristics that he so desires. In his opinion, Seymour believes that by committing suicide, he will be given the chance that he wants and needs: to start all over again. Succeeding the incident in the elevator, Seymour