Comparing The Catcher In The Rye And A Perfect Day For Bananafish

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Life can often move at such a slow and constant pace that it is easy to look up and realize that one has arrived a place that he or she had never meant to go. J.D. Salinger emphasizes this point in both his bestselling novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and his short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Catcher follows around Holden Caulfield, a teenager in New York, as he explores the city for a weekend, and comes to grips with adulthood. “Bananafish” tells of a young man by the name of Seymour Glass, a World War 2 veteran who still struggles internally with the trauma he had faced. Both stories exhibit similarities through several key themes, including the probity of childhood. Salinger highlights children’s innocence in these works of literature.…show more content…
From Muriel’s phone call, the reader is able to pick up on several uncanny notes about Glass’s character. For example, Muriel’s mother implies that Glass had previous crashed a car with both him and Muriel in it, possibly on purpose. This may seem alarming, but it is soon revealed that Glass had recently returned from war, and had been discharged from the army hospital, perhaps a bit prematurely. The reader is later more adequately introduced to Seymour Glass when a little girl, Sybil Carpenter, approaches him. Glass converses lightly and easily with the child, enjoying her honesty and innocence: “῾I like to chew candles,’ she said finally. ῾Who doesn’t?’ said the young man, getting his feet wet.” (Bananafish, 15) Glass is able to find a relation with Sybil that he is unable to find with his wife or anyone else. Because of his suffering, he cannot establish a connection in a world that is full of materialism and greed. Instead, he can only fathom the purity and probity of a child, for children are uncorrupted and harness an immaculate morality due to not being exposed to the dark corners of the world. But alas, Glass cannot escape his mental torment forever, and he must return to his wife. Muriel is so lacking in this sense of honesty and innocence that it drives Glass to kill himself. The presence of simplicity in only one character can accentuate the corruption in the rest of the…show more content…
Though he may constantly label adults that he encounters as “phony,” he is able to identify a “niceness” in children, primarily in his younger sister, Phoebe. At this point in his life, Caulfield is struggling during the transition from childhood to adulthood. He continually rejects adulthood as he can see the inauthenticity in many of its members. Instead, he attempts to retain what remnants of his childhood that he can, making up for its loss by trying to save that of others. When he mishears a song a little boy is singing, he comes to the realization that he wants to save them: “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.” (Catcher,

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