Salinger wrote "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" when he was highly interested in Zen Buddhism. The epigraph to this story's collection suggests that we approach each tale as though it were a Zen kōan, a riddle with no logical answer. "Bananafish" in many ways rejects logical knowledge in favor of spiritual wisdom. It also condemns materialism as a great danger to the soul's well-being.
Seymour's suicide is tantamount to a spiritual victory.