I read this story for the first time today. I have gone through all the discussions and they really helped me to see the story from so many different angles. I see I'm quite late. But a few more ideas came into my head. Salinger has obviously used the Bananafish as a metaphor (which LMK has explained so brilliantly) but is feet also a kind of symbol/ metaphor? Why not use Face to show innocence of childhood?
I was also pondering over Seymore's cause of suicide? He just does not commit suicide in haste. He has earlier shown suicidal tendencies. Muriel's mother gives a hint of this,
"The trees. That business with the window. Those horrible things he said to Granny about her plans for passing away. What he did with all those lovely pictures from Bermuda--everything."
And also when she says,
"Well. In the first place, he said it was a perfect crime the Army released him from the hospital--my word of honor. He very definitely told your father there's a chance--a very great chance, he said--that Seymour may completely lose control of himself. My word of honor."
I think perhaps it is the lack of love and trust upon his wife's part which drives him to this extreme step. Or does he want to escape from his own failure to adjust to the adult world? I could not decide what it is.
Another interesting point is that Muriel's mother warns her that Seymore may harm her but the poor guy harms no one except himself. During his whole conversation with Sybil, I felt that now he would do something odd to the girl. (Actually I was thinking that he would drown her.) Even when he took out the automatic it seemed as if he would shoot his wife. Perhaps the first conversation between Muriel and her mother presented Seymore in a very negative shade. I feel I should read the story again.
Agreed. I quite exclaimed aloud to myself, "Who doesn't love kissing a baby's or toddler's foot!" The idea of Sybil as a messenger is really great.