Page 5 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast
Results 61 to 75 of 79

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

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I think that's the key in understanding her character and in understanding the conclusion. My imagination wonders if she is even perturbed when she wakes up to find Seymore.
    I think that this is the key in Seymore's mode and place of death. It is loud, messy, and something that Muriel would be unable to ignore, unlike the many things she has ignored. She may or may not have been upset, but it is not the kind of thing that can be overlooked.

    While she has ignored so many things, and continues to live in her happy world, Seymore has been crying out for help with his behavior. He needs the unflappable love and acceptance that only children can give, and instead he has a wife who simply doesn't care, and in-laws that may or may not care, but only about how it may affect their daughter.

  2. #62
    tea-timing book queen bouquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    1,587
    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'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.

    In the English language the word "fish" is an informal term for a person; thus, we say sometimes, He's an odd fish or He's not a bad fish.

    And "bananas" also means crazy, deranged.
    So, bananafish could mean a crazy or deranged person... Seymour could have been making a reference to himself.

    As for Muriel giggling at being called Miss Spiritual Tramp, either she doesn't have a clue or she just couldn't care less.
    "The years nowadays don't pass the way the old ones used to."
    - ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by bouquin View Post
    In the English language the word "fish" is an informal term for a person; thus, we say sometimes, He's an odd fish or He's not a bad fish.

    And "bananas" also means crazy, deranged.
    So, bananafish could mean a crazy or deranged person... Seymour could have been making a reference to himself.

    As for Muriel giggling at being called Miss Spiritual Tramp, either she doesn't have a clue or she just couldn't care less.
    I think she was clueless therefore careless.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  4. #64
    tea-timing book queen bouquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    1,587
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Whille I do agree that there might be a religious suggestion to the feet, I do think that's just stretching the significance too far. It's a suggestion to associate childhood innocence with a level of spirituality, but I can't find anything more than that.


    To be honest I laugh every time i read that line. My imagination just runs wild. It's a comic line and I don't think even Salinger had anything specific in mind. Ultimately i have no idea.








    My own interpretation of Granny's chair is not comic at all, it is rather gruesome. I'm thinking maybe Seymour was making another attempt by hanging this time and he tried to kick off standing on Granny's chair...

    As for the kiss planted on Sybil's feet, I actually have no real idea what significance could be attributed to it, if any. That was just a little theory of mine I posted earlier... because after all, if we readers can put meaning into Sybil's first name for example, comparing her to a prophetess, etc. then I don't see why we can't liken the kiss on her feet to the washing of the Biblical disciples' own.
    "The years nowadays don't pass the way the old ones used to."
    - ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

  5. #65
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,335
    Blog Entries
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by bouquin View Post
    My own interpretation of Granny's chair is not comic at all, it is rather gruesome. I'm thinking maybe Seymour was making another attempt by hanging this time and he tried to kick off standing on Granny's chair...
    Yes, it is gruesome if one really ponders it. Just the way it was expressed was in a comedic phrasing. There's comedy throughout the story.

    As for the kiss planted on Sybil's feet, I actually have no real idea what significance could be attributed to it, if any. That was just a little theory of mine I posted earlier... because after all, if we readers can put meaning into Sybil's first name for example, comparing her to a prophetess, etc. then I don't see why we can't liken the kiss on her feet to the washing of the Biblical disciples' own.
    Oh yes I agree. I wasn't criticizing. But sometimes I think we strectch symbols too far. I do agree there is spiritual allusion to kissing her feet. I don't think there is any supporting evidence to say it's related to Christ. But it's a possibility that was going through Salinger's mind but where he didn't add supporting events along with it. I'm not saying you're completely off base.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  6. #66
    tea-timing book queen bouquin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    1,587
    I have just read a Hemingway short story called Soldier's Home. It's also about a young man come back from war and his difficulty in re-adjusting to his former peacetime life. It's not exactly the same as A Perfect Day for Bananafish, that's why you might find it worth your while to make comparisons, etc.

    Are we going to be nominating and voting soon for September's short story? I hope we continue with this Club discussion every month!




    ____________________
    Currently reading: ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND & THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS (Lewis Carroll)
    "The years nowadays don't pass the way the old ones used to."
    - ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

  7. #67
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,335
    Blog Entries
    243
    Before we move on from this story, I wanted to ask if people thought the ending was appropriate. Is it prepared or is it just a trite surprise ending?

    Now I don't think it's a trite surprise ending. It is prepared thematically. We know that Seymore has attempted suicide before. We know he has tried to shock Muriel and we expect him to go further. So it doesn't come out of the blue.

    However, the tone of the story is comic. There is the comic dialogue between Muriel and her mother, where they don't allow each other to complete their thoughts. There are the funny descriptions of Seymore's insanity. There is little Sybil trying to sound out Seymore's name, playing with the words. There is the cute exchange between Seymore and Sybil, the childish jealousy of Sybil for the girl by the piano, the imaginative play of the banana fish image. There is the hilarious image of Seymore walking on the beach tightly wrapped in a robe carrying a water float under his arm. And there is hilarious exchange about his feet in the elevator with that woman. All very light and comic. But then he methodically takes out a gun, checks it unemotionally, and blows his brains out.

    Do you think that ending is out of place given the overwhelming comic elements of the story?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  8. #68
    Its funny you say that because my knee-jerk reaction to the ending was somewhat ambivalent. I was torn between genius, and cheap shock value. Upon consideration the ending was totally appropriate and I don't think out of place at all, except in the sense that it was meant to be out of place. The sharp contrast of the conlusion and the light and silly aspects just made the ending more poignant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Before we move on from this story, I wanted to ask if people thought the ending was appropriate. Is it prepared or is it just a trite surprise ending?

    Now I don't think it's a trite surprise ending. It is prepared thematically. We know that Seymore has attempted suicide before. We know he has tried to shock Muriel and we expect him to go further. So it doesn't come out of the blue.

    However, the tone of the story is comic. There is the comic dialogue between Muriel and her mother, where they don't allow each other to complete their thoughts. There are the funny descriptions of Seymore's insanity. There is little Sybil trying to sound out Seymore's name, playing with the words. There is the cute exchange between Seymore and Sybil, the childish jealousy of Sybil for the girl by the piano, the imaginative play of the banana fish image. There is the hilarious image of Seymore walking on the beach tightly wrapped in a robe carrying a water float under his arm. And there is hilarious exchange about his feet in the elevator with that woman. All very light and comic. But then he methodically takes out a gun, checks it unemotionally, and blows his brains out.

    Do you think that ending is out of place given the overwhelming comic elements of the story?

  9. #69
    A bit off topic here (relates to Glass family though), has anyone read Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction? I read Raise High... no prob, but Seymour an introduction I couldn't even get into

    I'll check into this story tomorrow
    Currently Reading: Underground by Haruki Murakami

  10. #70
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lost in the bell's curve
    Posts
    4,882
    Blog Entries
    66
    I have not read that, Windup, although I have read Franny of Franny and Zoey.

    I found the ending quite shocking, but I think it was definitely carefully prepared by Salinger. Perhaps it might be more helpful to ask if it works, and I think it does. It reminds me so much of the poem Richard Corey.

    I have to add that I did not find the story so very comical. I found the dialog between Muriel and her mother to be extremely annoying, and the conversation between Seymour and Sybil quite charming. It was made very apparent that Seymour was much more comfortable with the child and her world than he was with the woman and the adult world that actually belonged to him. I can relate to this. I like children as a rule better than I do adults. Which makes me wonder a little, was Seymour suffering from PTSD or was he simply a misfit? There isn't enough information in the story for me to make a definte decision. I feel strongly that the war was important in binging about a sea-change in his personality, that perhaps Muriel and what she had to offer worked before the war, but was not going to be even close to sufficient for the person he was afterwards.

    But it is absolutely brilliant on Salinger's part to give us all the information he has to impart on Seymour in two carefully constructed sets of dialog, after which the decision is made and the action taken. Is it appropriate? I don't know. It did seem sudden and out of the blue-for us. But not, undoubtedly for Seymour, who lived it. His doubts, as it were, had been put to rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by bouquin View Post
    To review Seymour's description of bananafish:
    their habits are very peculiar;
    they lead a very tragic life;
    they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas;
    they're very ordinary looking fish when they swim in;
    But once they get in they behave like pigs;
    after that, they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again;
    They get banana fever ... They die.

    Ok, so what if Seymour here were alluding to himself and others like him who have been scarred by certain horrific experiences in life? In Seymour's case, the most we can glean is that he's come back unwell from the war; most likely he's suffering from combat stress reaction. We don't know if he also endured psychological/emotional hardships at other times in his life; but suffice to say that his temperament is rather more suited to pursuits of poetry and music and conversations with tiny tots instead of warfare.
    So there he was, just your regular rather mellow kind of guy (ordinary looking when they swim in). But alas, he goes to war (into the hole) and there he is confronted with horrific experiences (a lot of bananas) that he is not able to handle (he behaves like a pig; gets fat). And what he's lived through has been so ghastly perhaps and he just couldn't get a grip so that now he is all mangled and broken inside (can't get out of the hole again). So now he is terribly ill in his soul (banana fever) and as far as he's concerned, he's doomed. So for him it's a perfect day for bananafish ... it's time to die.

    I was wondering also on how come Seymour hit upon "bananafish" in particular. I think it was simply because moments earlier he and Sybil had been discussing her bathing suit which she pointed out was yellow.... so yellow could perhaps be associated with banana; and fish - well, there was the ocean right in front of them.
    Very astute and spot on, Bouquin, btw.

    Quote Originally Posted by applepie View Post
    I think that this is the key in Seymore's mode and place of death. It is loud, messy, and something that Muriel would be unable to ignore, unlike the many things she has ignored. She may or may not have been upset, but it is not the kind of thing that can be overlooked.

    While she has ignored so many things, and continues to live in her happy world, Seymore has been crying out for help with his behavior. He needs the unflappable love and acceptance that only children can give, and instead he has a wife who simply doesn't care, and in-laws that may or may not care, but only about how it may affect their daughter.
    I also agree with your assessment, apple pie, hence the ending. THAT at least will get Muriel's attention, if only for awhile. Once the furor dies down, I suspect that she, like Sybil, will run off "without regret" as her shock recedes.
    Last edited by qimissung; 08-12-2010 at 01:48 PM.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

  11. #71
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lost in the bell's curve
    Posts
    4,882
    Blog Entries
    66
    I did'nt intend or plan to post twice. I'm not sure how it happened. Sorry.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Before we move on from this story, I wanted to ask if people thought the ending was appropriate. Is it prepared or is it just a trite surprise ending?

    Now I don't think it's a trite surprise ending. It is prepared thematically. We know that Seymore has attempted suicide before. We know he has tried to shock Muriel and we expect him to go further. So it doesn't come out of the blue.

    However, the tone of the story is comic. There is the comic dialogue between Muriel and her mother, where they don't allow each other to complete their thoughts. There are the funny descriptions of Seymore's insanity. There is little Sybil trying to sound out Seymore's name, playing with the words. There is the cute exchange between Seymore and Sybil, the childish jealousy of Sybil for the girl by the piano, the imaginative play of the banana fish image. There is the hilarious image of Seymore walking on the beach tightly wrapped in a robe carrying a water float under his arm. And there is hilarious exchange about his feet in the elevator with that woman. All very light and comic. But then he methodically takes out a gun, checks it unemotionally, and blows his brains out.

    Do you think that ending is out of place given the overwhelming comic elements of the story?
    I don't know that I think of the story as comic, unless it is tragic comedy. There might be some quips that might be considered humorous, but I don't think it is funny.

    I think the conversation between Muriel and her mother is sad; they are on such different wave lengths, but neither of them concerned with Seymore really (one afraid, the other amused).

    I think the same of the conversation between Sybil and Seymore; one upset about the poaching piano bench partner and the other who seems somewhat ambivalent. Perhaps he’s teasing, perhaps he doesn’t care, and perhaps he really doesn’t know…the color of her bathing suit for example.

    As far as the ending goes, first, as I said before I thought he was going to drown Sybil, but that didn’t happen. When he picked up the gun, I thought briefly and only briefly, that he might shoot Muriel, but then I knew he’d turn it on himself.

    I wasn’t surprised, but it was kind of…well, we have to end the story now, so let’s have him shoot himself when he gets to the room.

    Kind of bizarre after the outburst in the elevator, it showed too much passion (even though it was about feet) for him to have pulled the trigger then. It would have been more consistent, in my opinion, if there had been no yelling about feet or if that were important to the story that there might be another interlude. For example, he goes to his room, showers and dresses, takes the lift down to play the piano, someone looks at his feet and he turns his eyes away, goes to the piano, but nothing comes out of him, he goes back up the lift to the room where Muriel is now getting up from her nap and moving about getting ready for the evening, perhaps prattling about nothing or ignoring Seymore entirely, steps into the bathroom and then he shoots himself.

    I tend to re-write parts of books, especially endings, for my own taste after I read and try to digest the original author’s writings.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  13. #73
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,335
    Blog Entries
    243
    I'm surprised at all who thought the story wasn't comic. All of Salinger's best work is comic. Thanks for your responses.

    I will say the ending is appropriate in this sense: As Seymore is trying to shock Muriel and others into reality, so too does Salinger shock us with this sudden and dramatically unexpected ending. Aesthetics follows the theme.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  14. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I'm surprised at all who thought the story wasn't comic. All of Salinger's best work is comic. Thanks for your responses.

    I will say the ending is appropriate in this sense: As Seymore is trying to shock Muriel and others into reality, so too does Salinger shock us with this sudden and dramatically unexpected ending. Aesthetics follows the theme.
    I suppose I just don't think that Seymore cares what Muriel thinks one way or another; just as she is oblivious to his needs, he is apathetic towards her.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  15. #75
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    20,335
    Blog Entries
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by LMK View Post
    I suppose I just don't think that Seymore cares what Muriel thinks one way or another; just as she is oblivious to his needs, he is apathetic towards her.
    Hmm, how apathetic could he be if shoots himself beside her?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    Books are embalmed minds.

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

Page 5 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. D.H. Lawrence's Short Stories Thread
    By Virgil in forum Lawrence, D.H.
    Replies: 3248
    Last Post: 12-26-2011, 08:27 AM
  2. What is this short story?
    By Riverrun... in forum Who Said That?
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-16-2011, 11:43 PM
  3. The Short Short Story
    By TheMovingTeacup in forum General Writing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-24-2010, 02:29 AM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-21-2007, 09:48 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •