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Thread: Short Story Club: A Perfect Day for Bananafish by Salinger

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LMK View Post
    The little girl seemed to have previously spent a lot of time visiting with Mr. Glass. She was jealous of some other wee one sitting on the piano bench with him, but, seemed disturbed (as she should be) when he kissed her foot. This leads me to believe that it is the first gesture of this kind he has made towards her. Perhaps this was the final banana that he needed to eat so that there was no way out of the hole...?

    I can read the jealousy in two different ways. Either it's a childish thing or it's a sign of her future adult behavior. I lean toward the future adult behavior in the real world. Not sure what you're saying about the banana.
    In short; I was trying to suggest it was the last straw, a realization that he doesn't belong.

    Perhaps my analogy was not as clear as I'd intended, but I was trying to paint him as a banana fish who swam into the hole and had eaten the one-too-many-eth banana that put him over the limit to swim out through the door.

    I repeat the concept later in my post which you have already commented on:
    Quote Originally Posted by LMK View Post
    I agree, but still he was an adult and it seems even Sybil was bothered by the play. No, I do not think it was pedophilia at all, but a final realization perhaps that he can't play nice in the adult world, and doen't fit in with the child world, he's stuck in the hole and can't fit back through the door.



    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    "Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948." There is an resentment toward adult sexual behavior in this story. Maybe it's even a repulsion towards it. Notice in his dialogue with Sybil;
    I'm not yet convinced there is anything sexual in the story, the name he begins to call his wife is "Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948" he might have called her just a tramp or Miss World Tramp of 1948, but with all that he may have experienced in the war it is the spirit; something much deeper or beyond sex that he identifies with or is looking for. And the fact that she giggles when disclosing the new name to her mother suggests she is without a clue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    Will be reading the story tomorrow but here is one thing I wondered when I read it for the first time:

    The name "Sybil" comes from Greek and means "prophet/prophetess". Do you think this is significant?
    I did not know this; interesting. In my opinion it seems that their last interaction certainly may have caused him to see what he had not seen before, unbeknownst to her and yet probably because of her. Does that qualify as a prophetess? Perhaps in a general way, it does. Thanks for sharing that nugget with us.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  2. #17
    Ars longa, vita brevis downing's Avatar
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    Hello everyone! I read this again now and I keep wondering why do you all say that he didn't fit in the children's universe? To me, the discussion with Sybil is just ok, except the fact that she is disturbed by him kissing her feet. Ideas anyone? It would help me a great deal.
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  3. #18
    Dreaming away Sapphire's Avatar
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    @MaineTim
    Or could you read the bananafish as Seymour's view of at least some of the adults in his world? His wife seems pretty self-involved and materialistic, maybe the bananafish are his view of the "bloat" of adult decadence that he might find in her, for example? Perhaps "banana fever" is the "fever" of materialism and acquisition that he disdains in adults.
    Yes, that's also an idea

    @Virgil
    The whole story is a progression of Seymore trying to shock his wife, his in-laws, the little girl, and the woman in the elevator.
    I never got the impression that he was willingly trying to shock people. Looking at it in this way, it means that Seymore isn't trying to fit in. He is actually actively trying NOT to fit... An interesting thought, but I'm not sure what to do with it
    He isn't happy when he has shocked the woman in the elevator though. He doesn't seem the least bit satisfied with himself - if it is his goal to shock, wouldn't he feel some kind of satisfaction at that point?
    Are you reacting to the possibility of pedophilia?
    Actually, I was trying not to But it probably is... I just hate it that my mind goes there I liked your explination why it isn't. I have to say though: kissing somebodies feet while you're just friends or maybe even just acquaintances is a bit unsettling.
    What is especially well crafted in this story are the dichotomies.
    Great find!
    "Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948." There is an resentment toward adult sexual behavior in this story. Maybe it's even a repulsion towards it.
    I think LMK is right to point out "Spiritual", but it also makes me wonder whether that isn't exactly what you mean. I'll try to explain Him focussing on the Spiritual Tramp, proofs your point that there is an resentment toward adult sexual behaviour - which might not have been there when it was "just" Tramp. I know it can be a demeaning word, but can it be cute as a nick-name? Or maybe not cute... but a man who's comfortable with his wife's sexual avances might call her "Miss Tramp 1948" in the bedroom?
    Now he calls her Miss Spiritual Tramp, this might mean she has a lot of different (spiritual) ideas. She's game for all sorts of thoughts. Or it might mean that she tramples them all, being overly materialistic. I really don't know what to think of it. does it show?

    @LMK
    The reference to Mrs. Glass by the narrator as 'girl' yet her husband as 'young man' or 'man' caught my attention.
    I hadn't noticed that yet... But then again I did not realy caught on to the fact that Seymour and Muriel are the Glass-family . I was already wondering why Sybil was talking to her mother about glass... Not that this explains it, but it might be referring to her wanting to meet Seymour again?
    In my opinion it seems that their last interaction certainly may have caused him to see what he had not seen before, unbeknownst to her and yet probably because of her.
    It is also a possibility that his previous talks with Sybil went the same way - he is just fooling around, jumping from one subject to an other, using childrens logic. It had to stop somewhere, and just because it ends when he kisses her feet does not have to mean it changes anything in Seymour - that he realizes something. Or maybe it does, for why else would he reach for that gun? ...

    @Scheherazade
    The name "Sybil" comes from Greek and means "prophet/prophetess". Do you think this is significant?
    I can find myself in LMK's explination. It made me think that maybe the same can be figured out for Seymour and Muriel. No luck though: Seymour refers to the place Saint-Maur in France, and Muriel means "sparkling, shining sea". Well, maybe that fits as in her being all sparkles and quite self-absorbed? :S But I can not fit the sea to her... She gives the impression of a girl who might like the beach to get a tan, but not necessarely the sea itself.
    I'm just thinking out loud here I'll brood on this some more...

    On the prophet note: It is Sybil who asks him to come into the water, while Muriel just told her mother that he doesn't go there. Though he does have that float with him...

    KingMob
    now I read all these comments and the story starts to get bigger and more complex.
    To me, the story starts to make sense - I've read it a couple of times in my lifetime, but I never understood what all the fuss was about. Just a story in which a mother and a daughter chat on the phone, a man talks to a girl about some nonsense and that's about it... With all the explaining in here I start to think about what's behind it all, underneath the surface . So I'm really glad we're doing this
    The Wasteland reference, i hadn't noticed at all, thanks Virgil! But there is some mystery there, why do you think that phrase pops up in Seymour's head at that particular moment?
    Same here

    @Downing
    Good point. Maybe just because he is a grown man?

    Is there anybody else who thinks there are quite some details in this story? I mean, there isn't just a pistol, it is a Ortgies calibre 7.65 automatic. And the phone lines aren't just busy because there are a lot of advertising men - there are 57 of them.
    Last edited by Sapphire; 08-02-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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  4. #19
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Mob View Post
    And as regards the epiphany, do you think there is really one? I mean, was Seymour already planning to commit suicide or there is that moment of Joyce-like epiphany? I like more the epiphany theory but it seems rather hard to recognise the moment or his change.
    Hard to say. It does seem like he's been trying to kill himself before. But what else would be the significance of that long dialogue with Sybil? And I do like the notion of Sybil as a vehicle toward his decision.

    Maybe the feet episode in the elevator is to show that final straw. Seymour kisses Sybil's foot because he thinks it's beautiful, it belongs to the childhood world, to fantasy. Maybe he thought his own feet were like that but now he realizes they are not.
    Good thought! That never occured to me before.

    But then, on the elevator, he thinks the woman is looking at his feet because they are not normal, they have something different, something childish, and so he realizes he doesn't belong to the grown-up world either.
    The feet may be the vehicle to show the epiphany, as he realizes he doesn't belong completely to either world.
    Yes, that could be. I'm not sure it's conclusive one way or the other.

    Edit: One more thing. The Wasteland reference, i hadn't noticed at all, thanks Virgil! But there is some mystery there, why do you think that phrase pops up in Seymour's head at that particular moment?
    That phrase, "mixing memory and desire" is in The Wasteland a reference to before life became modern, to a pre-waste land. Could it be Seymore's wish to a pre-war life or to his childhood.

    Quote Originally Posted by LMK View Post
    In short; I was trying to suggest it was the last straw, a realization that he doesn't belong.

    Perhaps my analogy was not as clear as I'd intended, but I was trying to paint him as a banana fish who swam into the hole and had eaten the one-too-many-eth banana that put him over the limit to swim out through the door.
    I like your analogy. I think it fits. eating those bananas is comparable to the war trauma.

    I'm not yet convinced there is anything sexual in the story, the name he begins to call his wife is "Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948" he might have called her just a tramp or Miss World Tramp of 1948, but with all that he may have experienced in the war it is the spirit; something much deeper or beyond sex that he identifies with or is looking for. And the fact that she giggles when disclosing the new name to her mother suggests she is without a clue.
    You might be right. There is the sort of sexual suggestiveness between him and Sybil (though I don't think it's conscious on Seymore's part) but though there is nothing overt, I can't help but feel there is sexual suggestiveness. Notice the magazine article Muriel is reading: "Sex Is Fun-or Hell". Plus the reference to Muriel's puberty in the second paragraph. Plus this story was written at a time when Freud was very big and any allusion to mental illness suggested a sexual problem. Plus the allusion to The Wasteland - a poem where spirituality has degenerated into raw sexuality adds to the suggestion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire View Post
    [color=blue]
    @MaineTim
    @Virgil

    I never got the impression that he was willingly trying to shock people. Looking at it in this way, it means that Seymore isn't trying to fit in. He is actually actively trying NOT to fit... An interesting thought, but I'm not sure what to do with it
    He isn't happy when he has shocked the woman in the elevator though. He doesn't seem the least bit satisfied with himself - if it is his goal to shock, wouldn't he feel some kind of satisfaction at that point?
    Read the Muriel section again, and notice how deliberate and methodical and placid she is. She is unpertubable. The gunshot to his temple is probably the only thing that can shock her. I don't know if he's happy or not. I don't think so because he hasn't achieved what he's really after by shocking people. More on that at the end of this post, below.

    Actually, I was trying not to But it probably is... I just hate it that my mind goes there I liked your explination why it isn't. I have to say though: kissing somebodies feet while you're just friends or maybe even just acquaintances is a bit unsettling.
    I guess you don't have a foot fetish. (I'm joking.)

    I think LMK is right to point out "Spiritual", but it also makes me wonder whether that isn't exactly what you mean. I'll try to explain Him focussing on the Spiritual Tramp, proofs your point that there is an resentment toward adult sexual behaviour - which might not have been there when it was "just" Tramp. I know it can be a demeaning word, but can it be cute as a nick-name? Or maybe not cute... but a man who's comfortable with his wife's sexual avances might call her "Miss Tramp 1948" in the bedroom?
    Now he calls her Miss Spiritual Tramp, this might mean she has a lot of different (spiritual) ideas. She's game for all sorts of thoughts. Or it might mean that she tramples them all, being overly materialistic. I really don't know what to think of it. does it show?
    Good point. I hadn't thought about spiritual tramp. But what is a spiritual tramp? I think Seymore is using the phrase ironically. There is nothing spiritual about Muriel at all. Everything we see about her is grounded in the material.

    Let me just say another thing about the spiritual. This is out of the context of this particular story. But if you all get a chance, read the nine stories in the collection. The collection is called Nine Stories. While there is only the suggestion of the importance of the spiritual to Salinger in this story, you'll find much more overt references to modern world's lack of spirituality in some of the other stories. But even in this story, we have the "spiritual tramp" reference, the allusion to The Wasteland, the allusion to the great German poet of the century, who though not mentioned I believe is Rilke, who is a spiritual poet.

    Which brings me into why he is trying to shock people. He is trying to shock people to bring them out of the material world, out of the wasteland, to see the fantastic, the spiritual, the beyond reality.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Good point. I hadn't thought about spiritual tramp. But what is a spiritual tramp? I think Seymore is using the phrase ironically. There is nothing spiritual about Muriel at all. Everything we see about her is grounded in the material.
    My idea was that I looked at the word tramp in the context of the times it would have been like a hobo, if you will, someone without 'things'; no home, no nothing. So him calling her a Spiritual Tramp is to say that she has no spirit, she is no deeper than her lipstick tube. I don't think it was ironic I think he was belting her in the face, but she just didn't get it. In fact she may even have thought he was praising another meaning of the word tramp and felt a bit naughty but pleased with it. Stil to him she was Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948 and Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948.

    If Muriel has any thoughts about sex it too would be as a thing, just as her husband was a 'thing' she didn't take it seriously...life was a game for her to be played on her terms. Look at how casually she went about answering the phone she had to wait to be put through.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  6. #21
    The banana is, amongst other things, a phallic symbol, especially when the holes get involved! Why 78? Perhaps that's the number of materialistic tramps he's been "involved with", and, sadly, he recognises he's ended up married to one, largely due to banana fever. His innocent encounter with the child reminds him of an innocent, better world, now lost to him. He's obviously an attractive guy, the tramp in the lift even admires his feet. He cannot get away from tramps even in the lift!. He walks into his bedroom. Another tramp, and this one has him trapped. So he kills himself.

    MaineTim - I liked your interpretation. No doubt there are many others. Salinger is a genius.

  7. #22
    Dreaming away Sapphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil to KingMob
    But what else would be the significance of that long dialogue with Sybil?
    Without it, we would only have the conversation of Muriel with her mother: the significance of the dialogue might just be to let us meet Seymour And to let him tell the wonderful story of the bananafish
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil to KingMob
    Could it be Seymore's wish to a pre-war life or to his childhood.
    I like that idea - I can totally imagine he'd like to go back to that when he has lived through WWII...
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil to LMK
    Plus the reference to Muriel's puberty in the second paragraph.
    I thought that was there to make it very clear that she is an attractive girl: a girl for whom the guys have been in line since... well, since she hit puberty And I thought the magazine was just one of those glossies But it makes more sense to see it in a bigger context - why should the writer add details like that when there's no meaning behind them? Then again, I don't think the type of gun or the exact amount of sales man in the hotel is very relevant
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil to Sapphire
    I guess you don't have a foot fetish.
    That obvious, ey?
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil
    Let me just say another thing about the spiritual. This is out of the context of this particular story. But if you all get a chance, read the nine stories in the collection. The collection is called Nine Stories. While there is only the suggestion of the importance of the spiritual to Salinger in this story, you'll find much more overt references to modern world's lack of spirituality in some of the other stories. But even in this story, we have the "spiritual tramp" reference, the allusion to The Wasteland, the allusion to the great German poet of the century, who though not mentioned I believe is Rilke, who is a spiritual poet.
    Which brings me into why he is trying to shock people. He is trying to shock people to bring them out of the material world, out of the wasteland, to see the fantastic, the spiritual, the beyond reality.
    I buy this Thanks for the insight!
    Quote Originally Posted by LMK
    My idea was that I looked at the word tramp in the context of the times it would have been like a hobo, if you will, someone without 'things'
    I hadn't thought of that meaning of tramp. I think it fits very well into this story

    Strange though, before we started to talk about all of this I never thought Muriel to be that materialistic I just thought she was standing by her man in the conversation with her mother; trying to avoid a fuzz so her parents would stop worrying.
    After all, she did stick with Seymour while he was away. Even if she isn't interested in sex, other guys could have given her presents. Or maybe that is my line of reasoning again: if you stick with your man you don't take presents from other guys. Maybe she did do that... kept some admirers strolling along for materialistic purposes...
    I guess we'll never know.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal4Mac
    The banana is, amongst other things, a phallic symbol, especially when the holes get involved!
    I already wondered when somebody would bring this up. I had been thinking about it, but I couldn't think of an explination...
    It is not too late, to be wild for roundabouts - to be wild for life
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  8. #23
    Let me start by saying what an odd, but interesting short story. I've never read this before, but I'll thank Virgil for directing me this way.

    There was a level of discomfort in the scene with Sybil. I don't know a better way to describe it. It was suggested that Seymore was attempting to shock the people around him, and perhaps this is the authors way of doing the same to us.

    Perhaps my mind is in the gutter, but the idea of a "banana fish" that he was talking of to the little girl... well it put some nasty images in my head. At first I thought he was going to be nude beneath his robe, and then I was picturing something far more nefarious was going to happen in the water than what really occurred. I think it was deliberate in that we are given just the hint, a whiff if you will, of the idea of pedophilia without actually having any occur. It says something to the state of Seymore's mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Good point. I hadn't thought about spiritual tramp. But what is a spiritual tramp? I think Seymore is using the phrase ironically. There is nothing spiritual about Muriel at all. Everything we see about her is grounded in the material.
    I've pondered over this idea of a spiritual tramp and I think it speaks to the relationship between Seymore and his wife. The mother made a comment about how other wives behaved, and perhaps while she may not have had an actual affair, he may feel that she thought of others more than him. In an essence she cheated with her mind and heart rather than her body. I think he also views her as a bit of a child rather than as a woman. This quote left me thinking of the way in which he would see his wife.
    He glanced at the girl lying asleep on one of the twin beds...Then he went over and sat down on the unoccupied twin bed, looked at the girl, aimed the pistol, and fired a bullet through his right temple.
    The idea that she is referred to as a girl when he shoots himself is interesting. Perhaps his interest in children was an attempt to understand and connect with his wife whom he is now more adult than after a return from war. A man married to a child rather than a man who has reverted to childhood.

  9. #24
    I also felt a sense of pedophiliac foreboding at the first mention of the bananafish, and I agree that it was supposed to suggest at least some sort of latent desire for children even if the main character had never directly acted on the urges, or maybe completely understood them.

    Not just banana, but fish, are both juvenile associations with secondary male and female sex organs respectively and I don't think this is an accident nor is their juxtaposition. I think a case can be made for both Seymour and his wife in someway being a bananfish but I think the point is that ultimately they both are, but for different reasons. Her because of her spiritualess consumerism and him because of the memories or scenes of terror he acquired in the war.

    I read the story as a marriage that was strained out of complete apathy or disconnectedness between the two. For instance, despite it apparently being quite obvious to everyone that Seymour is mentally unstable his wife pretty much brushes these concerns aside and says something to the effect that of "just wanting to enjoy her vacation." You also get the impression that despite recently arriving home from the war they aren't exactly spending a great deal of time together on this vacation.

    She only loves things and he is now so jaded and calloused that it is impossible to love someone like that or even continue to at least pretend to. So it is a perfect day for a bananafish for two reasons, both somewhat sardonic. He because he is "escaping" the hole in the only way left to him, and she because she will be able to gorge herself on even more banana's, both sexually and financially. She will of course get all of their collective possessions along with a life insurance policy which he undoubtedly has, having been a soldier, and only have to go through a brief period of "grieving" before taking another man and his concomitant material offerings.

  10. #25
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMK View Post
    My idea was that I looked at the word tramp in the context of the times it would have been like a hobo, if you will, someone without 'things'; no home, no nothing. So him calling her a Spiritual Tramp is to say that she has no spirit, she is no deeper than her lipstick tube. I don't think it was ironic I think he was belting her in the face, but she just didn't get it. In fact she may even have thought he was praising another meaning of the word tramp and felt a bit naughty but pleased with it. Stil to him she was Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948 and Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948.
    I hadn't thought of that. Great point. Actually I think both fits, but I like your reading better.

    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    The banana is, amongst other things, a phallic symbol, especially when the holes get involved! Why 78? Perhaps that's the number of materialistic tramps he's been "involved with", and, sadly, he recognises he's ended up married to one, largely due to banana fever. His innocent encounter with the child reminds him of an innocent, better world, now lost to him. He's obviously an attractive guy, the tramp in the lift even admires his feet. He cannot get away from tramps even in the lift!. He walks into his bedroom. Another tramp, and this one has him trapped. So he kills himself.
    You know, in all the years I've been reading this story, I never realized that obvious phallic symbol. How could it not have dawn on me? However I have to disagree about the woman in the elevator. There is nothing to suggest that she's a tramp or even looking at his feet. Her reaction is complete surprise and is credible to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkhockenberry View Post
    Let me start by saying what an odd, but interesting short story. I've never read this before, but I'll thank Virgil for directing me this way.
    You're welcome.

    Perhaps my mind is in the gutter, but the idea of a "banana fish" that he was talking of to the little girl... well it put some nasty images in my head. At first I thought he was going to be nude beneath his robe, and then I was picturing something far more nefarious was going to happen in the water than what really occurred. I think it was deliberate in that we are given just the hint, a whiff if you will, of the idea of pedophilia without actually having any occur. It says something to the state of Seymore's mind.
    I read it as completely innocent. Some here don't. It's possible that there is a "latent" pedophilia as Rores says, but no where in Muriel's descriptions of Seymore's insanity is any suggestion of sexual deviance. Everything suggests a desire to shock the people around him. Pedophilia would not go along with Salinger's themes of desire for childhood innocence.

    The idea that she is referred to as a girl when he shoots himself is interesting.
    I agree, that is interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rores28 View Post
    I also felt a sense of pedophiliac foreboding at the first mention of the bananafish, and I agree that it was supposed to suggest at least some sort of latent desire for children even if the main character had never directly acted on the urges, or maybe completely understood them.
    I'm not sure I can agree about a latent desire for children. I can't find any direct suggestion that he has any. Salinger heros are not usually the perverts; they are usually ones who wish for a childhood innocence.

    Not just banana, but fish, are both juvenile associations with secondary male and female sex organs respectively and I don't think this is an accident nor is their juxtaposition. I think a case can be made for both Seymour and his wife in someway being a bananfish but I think the point is that ultimately they both are, but for different reasons. Her because of her spiritualess consumerism and him because of the memories or scenes of terror he acquired in the war.
    Yes, actually, the consumerism of Muriel is suggestive of the banana fish consumption. Good point.

    She only loves things and he is now so jaded and calloused that it is impossible to love someone like that or even continue to at least pretend to. So it is a perfect day for a bananafish for two reasons, both somewhat sardonic. He because he is "escaping" the hole in the only way left to him, and she because she will be able to gorge herself on even more banana's, both sexually and financially. She will of course get all of their collective possessions along with a life insurance policy which he undoubtedly has, having been a soldier, and only have to go through a brief period of "grieving" before taking another man and his concomitant material offerings.
    Not sure if that's what the "perfect" was referring to, but I do like the "escape" and Muriel's consumption points.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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  11. #26
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    There is so much to reply to here but I don't want to quote each post so I will post my thoughts on the issues that have been discussed.

    Sybil's name> I think, yes, it is symbolic: She makes Seymore realise certain things. She gives him the "message" that there is an innocence that is lost to him and grown-ups.

    Foot-kissing> I have been thinking about this a lot. On one hand, it does seem a creepy thing to be done by a stranger but on the other hand, toddler feet are absolutely delightful! Who doesn't love kissing a baby's or toddler's foot.

    However, I wonder if the timing of the kiss is important as well. Seymore does this right after Sybil claims to have seen a bananafish. This, to me, shows how innocent, how impressionable she is, and, I believe, that is what Seymore realises once again as well. His tale about bananafish, no doubt a sarcastic one, is taken at its face value by Sybil, who readily takes his word for it all and claims to see one herself as well. Maybe to please him or maybe her imagination runs away with it. If Seymore told about bananafish to an adult (to his wife?), he would get raised eyebrows or some scoffing maybe along with "Really, Seymore..."

    After this final realisation, Seymore kisses Sybil's foot. Going back to the idea of Sybil being a messenger, isn't there some tradition of kissing the feet of religious figures?

    Glass> I find this name very interesting. To me, it signifies fragility. So, Seymore, despite being able to see things clearly, is not strong enough to deal with it all and has to expire.
    ~
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  12. #27
    Dreaming away Sapphire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade
    Going back to the idea of Sybil being a messenger, isn't there some tradition of kissing the feet of religious figures?
    Of course . That is a great idea!
    It is not too late, to be wild for roundabouts - to be wild for life
    Wolfsheim - It is not too late

  13. #28
    I read it as completely innocent. Some here don't. It's possible that there is a "latent" pedophilia as Rores says, but no where in Muriel's descriptions of Seymore's insanity is any suggestion of sexual deviance. Everything suggests a desire to shock the people around him. Pedophilia would not go along with Salinger's themes of desire for childhood innocence.
    To me it was just a whiff of it. Part of it stems from the insinuation of the parents that Seymore would do something "funny" or odd in some way. This sort of colored the way that I viewed Seymore from the beginning. I'm going to read it again after reading the discussion here to see if it has changed the way that I view things.

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post



    Foot-kissing> I have been thinking about this a lot. On one hand, it does seem a creepy thing to be done by a stranger but on the other hand, toddler feet are absolutely delightful! Who doesn't love kissing a baby's or toddler's foot.

    ^ Pedophile.... Pedopedophile even

  15. #30
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rores28 View Post
    ^ Pedophile.... Pedopedophile even
    Care to explain what you mean in more detail, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by mkhockenberry View Post
    To me it was just a whiff of it. Part of it stems from the insinuation of the parents that Seymore would do something "funny" or odd in some way. This sort of colored the way that I viewed Seymore from the beginning. I'm going to read it again after reading the discussion here to see if it has changed the way that I view things.
    I hear what you are saying, Meg.

    This story was written over 60 years ago and our reaction to a friendship between an adult and child shows how much our society has... deteriorated?

    With all the horror stories we get to hear on daily basis, we are, I think, finding it hard to believe and accept that this relationship could be very innocent. It is ironic that it also goes to show that while interpreting the story, our lost innocence -in moral terms as the members of 21st century society- interferes with our interpretation of the story.

    I cannot help wondering if the readers of 60 years ago felt the same uneasiness as we feel while reading this part of the story and, even though on first reading I could not help raising an eyebrow upon reading this particular scene, I do not believe that Salinger meant Seymore to come across as someone who is taking advantage of a little girl.
    ~
    No damn cat and no damn cradle.
    ~


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