Two books written by J.D. Salinger, known for his “Catcher in the Rye”, proposes two alternative thinking towards the defiance against society and its current state of “accepted” reality. Below you’ll find a short comparison of the similarities and differences of the characters Seymour Glass, a war veteran, and The Misfit, an escaped convict.
How are Seymour Glass and The Misfit similar?
Seymour Glass and the Misfit are similar in a sense that they know what reality is all about; that they have this sense of self-awareness that they’re not great and how they have lost the innocence which the adults most often crave. They’re philosophies in life may seem different at first but they are both geared towards the same ending: A glorious discovery of what they’ve become and what they’ve resolved to do with it; to accept their defeat or to defy the laws of society?
How are Seymour Glass and The Misfit different?
As much as they’re the same in thinking, their actions fall quite differently. Seymour Glass realizes his unimportance, his lack of life, and how he’s no longer fit for his world’s society. Upon realizing this, he decides that the only way to escape the world he’s living in is to ultimately deprive him of all the nonsense and to do that, he knew he had to kill himself. Only in death can he fully attain the freedom from all the pains and anguish he’s suffered through. He knew he couldn’t change anything and that he couldn’t go back to what he was before.
The Misfit on the other hand is on a quest to find answers specially noting on why he deserved to be in prison. He clearly knows that he doesn’t know anything. He’s unsure and overly perplexed as to how many people think he needs to go to jail while he himself can’t seem to accept that fact. He finds himself breaking out of that prison cell, the usual thinking or norms of society, and dares to question life and its meaning and overall to know the reason for his own existence.
The Misfit then ends up challenging an old woman who believes she’s always right, a woman who believes she is superior in all her morals on top of everyone else’s. Unlike the misfit, the woman readily and boastfully acknowledges her greatness with such wanton display of arrogance, wit, and experience in life as with most old people do.
The Misfit’s sense of conviction may be lacking in moral, much to the opposition of the old woman, but it is consistent because it’s based on a strong foundation of truth and self-awareness. The old woman’s convictions slowly become brittle, to her bitter realization, as she and The Misfit throw an exchange of dialogue towards religious beliefs, how life is supposed to be, and over all how society boasts an open minded acceptance of everyone’s ideas yet fails to accept a thinking that contradicts them. In this regard, The Misfit decides to end misery of the old woman for it is such a punishment in life to know that each and everything you believed in to be right is wrong, unjust, and downright false after all.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish
Muriel Glass waits in her Florida hotel room for the operator to connect her call to her mother. The hotel is booked for a sales convention so she has to wait a long time. She folds her clothing, does her nails, and scoured a magazine. When the call does go through, Muriel reassures her paranoid mother about her safety. Her mother is concerned about the unpredictable, irresponsible conduct of Seymour, Muriel’s husband. She hints at a car mishap that Seymour and Muriel were involved in and suggests that Seymour purposely crashed Muriel’s father’s car into a tree. She reminds Muriel of the outlandish and impolite things Seymour has said to members of Muriel’s family. Seymour has recently resumed from the war, and Muriel’s mother trusts that he was cleared from the military hospital prematurely. Muriel is not as concerned as her mother. She is engrossed by the...