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Themes

This story explores the isolating effects of mental illness. Seymour Glass, a troubled young man just back from service in World War II, has difficulty adjusting to being home, no doubt as a result of his experiences in the war. In some ways Seymour self-isolates, but in other ways he is alienated by "normal" society that doesn't understand his mental condition. This isolation is physical, mental, and spiritual – Seymour finds himself "alone" in more ways than one.

Questions About Isolation

  1. How close are Seymour and Muriel?
  2. Does Seymour form a real connection with Sybil, or does he remain isolated from the rest of the world?
  3. Is Seymour fit for society? (Or maybe we should ask if society is fit for Seymour…)

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Salinger portrays Seymour as superior to the other materialistic adults in his story.

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