J. D. SALINGER
A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH
The aim of the lesson is to teach you to see the details that help the author to intensify the dramatic effect and to evaluate the philosophical background of the story.
1. Some critics consider that Salinger wrote his Nine Stories within the paradigm of traditional Indian poetics, one of the main conceptions of which is that the genuine value of a literary work consists in the implications created by associations a word gives rise to. Only a person whose soul retains some memories of the previous reincarnations can fully appreciate the concealed meaning – dhvani. The highest point of dhvani was to instil a poetic mood (rasa). The wise men of India singled out nine poetic moods arranged in the following order: 1) Eros, love
2) laughter, irony
9) composure, leading to renunciation of the world
Thus, the first story of the collection embodies the first rasa. Does the idea seem strange to you? What was your first impression of the story?
2. The story consists of three parts, the tragic outcome taking place only at the end of the last one.
Does the end come as a shock? Provide a short summary of the story laying stress on those details that make it possible for the reader to suspect to some extent that the outcome may be tragic.
3. If there’s one thing Salinger has inherited from Dickens, it is, first and foremost, his hatred for mercenary calculating practicality, and his nostalgia for childlike sincerity and power of imagination. Children are nearly always serious to him. That’s why his rebels - the aliens in a hostile world - are always attracted by children. Is Seymour Glass a good judge of children’s psychology? Do they both - Seymour and Sybil - enjoy their companionship?
4. The most distinctive aspect of Salinger’s humour is its invariable effect of intensifying poignancy and even horror. While going up in the...
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