Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction
How we cite our quotes:
And, still more salient, why had I jumped into the car in the first place? . . . There seem to me at least a dozen answers to these questions, and all of them, however dimly, valid enough. I think, though, that I can dispense with them, and just reiterate that the year was 1942, that I was twenty-three, newly drafted, newly advised in the efficacy of keeping close to the herd - and, above all, I felt lonely. One simply jumped into loaded cars, as I see it, and stayed seated in them. ("Roof Beam" 2.46)
Salinger doesn't let us forget the setting of his stories, and the importance of the times on the various characters. Based on the story of Seymour's suicide, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," some critics believe that Seymour suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We can't forget that Buddy is also enrolled in the army, and we have to take this into account when thinking about his character.
I had a sudden, violent impulse to jump out of the car and break into a sprint, in any direction at all. As I remember, though, I was still in my jump seat when the Matron of Honor addressed me again. ("Roof Beam" 2.99)
What's keeping Buddy in the car at this point?
"It's closed for alterations," [the Matron of Honor] stated coldly, looking at me. Unofficially bat unmistakably, she was appointing me odd-man-out again, and at that moment, for no reason worth going into, I felt a sense of isolation and loneliness more overwhelming than I'd felt all day. Somewhat simultaneously, it's worth noting, my cough reactivated itself. I pulled my handkerchief out of my hip pocket. ("Roof Beam" 2.143)
Why is Buddy so dependent on these people – people that he doesn't even like – for acceptance?