J.D. Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" review and summary

Essay by ShadowsFallHigh School, 12th gradeA-, January 2003

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A Perfect Day for Bananafish

This short story by J.D. Salinger is a great example of his unique writing styles. It starts out with the lady living with the main character doing her nails in a hotel room in New York. She talks on the phone with her mom and it is evident that they don't have a true loving relationship. They constantly yell and tell each other what to do. This theme of estrangement with loved ones is common in Salinger's work. Seymour, the main character comes in here, with Muriel talking about him and how he plays the piano in the hotel lobby. These two are living together but it seems as if they are only friends. By showing us using the characters actions, Salinger makes these two look like very troubled people that have no real place in life. Many of his main characters are struggling to find a place in life.

All of a sudden, the scene shifts to the beach where Sybil, the young girl, is about to go play on the beach. She runs to Seymour, who is tanning with his bathrobe on. We also see Salinger's use of riddles here when we find out the Sybil saying "see more glass" actually means Seymour Glass. Once they meet, it turns into a scene that gets slightly more twisted and disturbing. There is just something about the way those two characters interact that wont settle in ones mind. Anyways, they go into the water and start talking nonsense about some kind of bananafish that act very peculiar. After they leave the beach, Seymour goes back to his hotel room and shoots himself. The story ends very abruptly and unexpectedly. This is also very common in Salinger's work.