Bananafish

“She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped strictly nothing.”

With that sentence J.D. Salinger paints the picture of Muriel as shallow in his short story A Perfect Day for Bananafish. Salinger reinforces that impression by referring to her as a “girl.” If he’d simply written that Muriel didn’t pick up the phone, the sentence would have lacked impact. Instead, the words march steadily downhill to “nothing.”

Muriel and husband Seymour Glass spend a day at the beach. Interestingly, the story is told mostly through dialog. Seymour is not coping with postwar life and ends his own in the story. It’s one to re-read to find the sad undercurrent which causes Seymour to commit suicide.

Salinger’s story was originally published in 1948 in The New Yorker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.