A Perfect Day for Bananafish
1. Muriel portrays herself a self-interested woman who lives in her own superficial and materialistic world. She places great importance on her appearance, “She washed her comb and brush. She took the spot out of the skirt of her beige suit. She moved the button on her Saks blouse. She tweezed out two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole”.
2. Intelligent but psychologically damaged form the war, Seymour has lost his footing in accepted adult society and renounces this society in favor of poetry, music, and children. Seymour is always apart from the crowd. As his wife Muriel socializes, Seymour is playing his piano alone or spending time with children on the beach. The first impression of Seymour is a very disciplined and “normal” man as, “He drove very nicely. Under fifty the whole way, as a matter of fact”. Muriel’s mother immediately gives us a clue that there is something the matter with Seymour’s character because she continues to ask if “He tried any of that funny business with the trees”, and if “He behaved in the car and all”. Seymour acts as a friend of Sybil’s and is genuinely warm hearted with children throughout the story, until the author throws a curve ball. As Seymour returns to his room at the end of the story, he accuses a woman in the elevator of looking at his feet. When she denies this claim, he becomes irate, “If you want to look at my feet, say so,” he said. “But don’t be a God-damned sneak about it”. This unsubstantiated fury illustrates two parts of Seymour’s character. First, such a fierce and malicious outburst shows that he really is mentally unsound. Muriel’s conversations with her mother about Seymour’s psychological condition are the only other true evidence that shows he is ill. Second, Seymour is irritated with the woman for being a “sneak”—that is, for being inauthentic. What Seymour is actually doing is criticizing the materialistic world of the hotel he vacations in where...
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