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A Perfect Day for Bananafish

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

by J.D. Salinger

A Perfect Day for Bananafish Analysis

Literary Devices in A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Before we talk about any of these symbols, you should know that there are two camps when it comes to interpreting "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." One camp is all about the deep hidden meaning, thin...

Setting

We know from Seymour's nickname for Muriel that the year is 1948. In later Glass family works, narrator Buddy Glass confirms that his brother Seymour committed suicide in 1948, allowing us to deduc...

Narrator Point of View

If you look only at the text of "Bananafish," you see an omniscient third person narrator. It might as well be a fly on the wall telling the story – the narrator doesn't know anything about t...

Genre

"A Perfect Day for Bananafish" isn't interested in plot or suspense as much as in character and theme. Salinger's narrative technique, dialogue, and powers of characterization have been praised by...

Tone

Muriel and the three other adult women in the story are painted in a most unflattering light, bordering on a caricature (all they talk about is fashion, even while dismissing the importance of Seym...

Writing Style

Salinger is so famous for his tell-tale writing style, we figured we would just call it what it is. Observe all of these typical Salinger trademarks: Italicized words for emphasis give the dialogue...

What's Up with the Title?

The bananafish are one of the story's key symbols. To understand what's going on here, we've got to take a closer look at the text:"This is a perfect day for bananafish. […] Their habits are...

What's Up with the Epigraph?

We know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping? – A Zen KōanThis is the epigraph to Nine Stories, the 1953 collection that opens with "A Perfect Day for Bana...

What's Up with the Ending?

Why does Seymour commit suicide? This is possibly one of the most highly-debated short story questions of the last fifty years. There are dozens of theories, and we can't be sure which one of them...

Plot Analysis

Muriel, "a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing" (1.2).The very start of "Bananafish" is devoted to Muriel Glass, to what she's like and to who she is. Muriel sets the stage for the...

Trivia

Salinger's story was originally titled "A Fine Day for Bananafish." (Source: Alexander, Paul (1999). Salinger: A Biography.)

Steaminess Rating

After finishing "Bananafish," you're probably so consumed with sympathy for Seymour that you don't want to admit you ever suspected the poor guy of any sexual interest in Sybil. But your first time...

Allusions

Rainer Maria Rilke (1.36-42) – This is an implicit reference; Rilke is never mentioned by name, only referred to as a German and "the only great poet of the century."Helen Bannerman, Little...

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