A Perfect Day for Bananafish Essay

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J.D. Salinger's short story, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," employs the traditional device of a surprise ending. Seymour Glass returns to his Miami hotel room, glances at his wife asleep on her bed, takes from his luggage a heavy-caliber German automatic, sits down on his bed, looks again at Muriel, and fires a bullet through his head. Not even Richard Cory's suicide has provoked more critical commentary. Why does Seymour shoot himself?

The number of reasons proposed for this denouement attests to the effectiveness of the surprise. Is Seymour no longer able to cope with the everyday world represented by Muriel and her mother? Is this act a gesture of despair brought on by sexual frustration? Does Seymour want revenge on Muriel and hope by his suicide to win her lost attention? Or does he kill himself because of an inability to reach ideal spiritual perfection? Perhaps...

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This section contains 1,969 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Perfect Day for Bananafish Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
A Perfect Day for Bananafish from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.