Nine Stories

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In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” Seymour Glass’ involvement in the war alters his state of mind and causes him to become psychologically unstable. While on a vacation with his wife, Seymour interacts with a little girl named Sybil Carpenter on the beach and, “pick[s] up one of [her] wet feet, which [was] drooping over the end of the float, and kissed the arch” (16-17). This small gesture demonstrates Seymour’s appreciation towards the youth and innocence of Sybil. Her foot symbolizes Seymour “kissing” his stability goodbye and highlights how Salinger informs the reader of Seymour’s madness. Seymour is finally unable to cope with his insanity at the end of the story, when he, “went over and sat down on the unoccupied twin bed…aimed the pistol, and fired a bullet through his right temple” (18). Seymour’s realization of his loss of innocence after fighting in the war is the major drive for his suicide. He is unable to cope with his feeling of alienation from both his wife and the world. This feeling can also arise through the death of someone important in your life.

In “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut,” Eloise’s inability to overcome the death of Walt in the war emphasizes her bitterness towards the world and especially towards her daughter, Ramona. When Ramona replaces her old imaginary friend, Jimmy Jimmereeno, for Mickey Mickeranno and leaves room on her bed for her imaginary friend to sleep, “Eloise grab[s] [her] ankles and half lifted and half pulled her over to the middle of the bed…she picked up Ramona’s glasses…[and] put the glasses back on the night table, lenses down” (37). Eloise is immediately angry that Ramona replaces Jimmy because she cannot replace Walt. Ramona’s glasses symbolize her vision of reality and that she can “see” better than her mother due to her ability to replace someone that does not exist anymore and the position of the glasses facing downwards emphasizes how Eloise does not want Ramona to see the reality of the world and her...
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