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Just Why Did Seymour Kill Himself

Glass Family is a family of fictional characters living in New York, which appear in several stories by Salinger. All the works about Glass family, except for the short story The Boat, were first published in the New Yorker. Many of them were later published in the collection Nine Stories.

Seymour Glass is the eldest son, who was born in 1917. Like all children of the Glass family, he was extremely smart and talented. He early graduated from college; got a degree, and before going to the military service he taught English literature. He took part in World War II. At 31, he commits suicide (in the story A Perfect Day for Bananafish). Seymour Glass was an example to follow for all children in the family, especially Buddy, who after years has not reconciled to his suicide.

The point of the story A Perfect Day for Bananafish is quite mysterious. The story doesn’t fit in the framework of modernism, its style is quite simple, but the plot, on the one hand is simple, and on the other hand is absurd. There are many different interpretations of the story.

The most widely believed interpretation is that Seymour, who returned from the front with a very unusual outlook on life, was unable to bear both his boring and rather banal wife, and the vulgar world. This led him to suicide after talking to a little girl. Different authors emphasize here the motives of his remoteness from his wife; the identity of the character with a gorged banana fish itself.

There is also another possible interpretation of the story from the point of view of psychoanalysis. The word bananafish has its own connotations – informally ‘to go banana’, ‘to get banana’ mean to be asleep, to go mad. In the United States, after World War II there was a surge of interest in psychoanalysis and the story mentions two psychoanalysts as well. One psychoanalyst was visited by father Muriel, who asked about the daughter’s husband (this psychoanalyst gave Seymour an extremely pessimistic diagnosis). The other one is presented in the hotel. Moreover, some experts draw attention to the ever-present motif of legs in the story: the legs of Sybil are constantly referred to, and when Seymour was in the elevator he was arguing with a woman about her looking at his legs.

In psychoanalysis, legs are a substitute for the genitals. Seymour is not satisfied with sex life with his wife and satisfies his needs with a small Sybil. Banana in this interpretation is an obvious phallic symbol. The story of bananafish is a story about sex and death, Eros and Thanatos. And suicide at the end of it is a fairly logical.

Glass Family is a family of fictional characters living in New York, which appear in several stories by Salinger. All the works about Glass family, except for the short story The Boat, were first published in the New Yorker. Many of them were later published in the collection Nine Stories.

Seymour Glass is the eldest son, who was born in 1917.

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100001194
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CREATED ON
August 27, 2016
COMPLETED ON
August 28, 2016
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$46
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