Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction
How we cite our quotes:
Then, suddenly, it struck me - and it was sheerly intuitive - that she might well be in secret possession of a motley number of biographical facts about Seymour; that is, the low, regrettably dramatic, and (in my opinion) basically misleading facts about him. That he'd been Billy Black, a national radio 'celebrity', for some six years of his boyhood. Or that, for another example, he'd been a freshman at Columbia when he'd just turned fifteen. ("Roof Beam" 2.49)
We find out later why these facts about Seymour are misleading. Buddy's tirade in his apartment reveals that Seymour in no way reveled in these abilities. Similarly, we find out in "Seymour: an Introduction" that Seymour didn't even like being the Glass family "champion talker."
The Matron of Honor seemed to reflect for a moment. "Well, nothing very much, really," she said. "I mean nothing small or really derogatory or anything like that. All she said, really, was that this Seymour, in her opinion, was a latent homosexual and that he was basically afraid of marriage. I mean she didn't say it nasty or anything. She just said it - you know - intelligently. I mean she was psychoanalyzed herself for years and years." ("Roof Beam" 2.87)
Psychoanalysis is discussed – mocked, in fact – in many of the other Glass family stories. Buddy makes it clear that Seymour was psychologically poked, prodded, and probed to no end as a child. Buddy perhaps even suggests that it is partly responsible for Seymour's problems as an adult.
"Do you know who I think you arc? I think you're this Seymour's brother." [The Matron of Honor] waited, very briefly, and, when I didn't say anything: "You look like him, from his crazy picture, and I happen to know that he was supposed to come to the wedding. His sister or somebody told Muriel." Her look was fixed unwaveringly on my face. "Are you?" she asked bluntly.
My voice must have sounded a trifle rented when I answered. "Yes," I said. My face was burning. In a way, though, I felt an infinitely less furry sense of self-identification than I had since I'd got off the train earlier in the afternoon. ("Roof Beam" 2.110-1)
Much of Buddy's identity in this story is wrapped up in his relationship to Seymour. Of course, all he is to the guests in the car is Seymour's brother. He seems to be entirely defined in terms of his relation to Seymour, both in "Roof Beam" and in "Seymour."