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Themes

In "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," sex is one of the material pursuits that poses a threat to the well-being of the soul. In the Zen spirit of this work, physical pleasures have no real value and only distract us from pursuing that which really matters. Most of the story's commentary on sex lies between the lines, or can be inferred from reading some of Salinger's other works on the same characters.

Questions About Sex

  1. What can we infer about Seymour and Muriel's sexual relationship? What hints are we given in the text?
  2. At first, are we meant to suspect some inappropriate sexual tinge to Seymour and Sybil's friendship? Does this seem intentional on Salinger's part? Once the story is over, does your opinion about this change?
  3. How does Seymour feel about sex? You'll find it useful to check out some of Salinger's other stories about Seymour ("Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters" is a good start).

Chew on This

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

Seymour kills himself out of shame for his sexual desire for Sybil.

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