Plot summary[ edit ] The story is set at an upscale seaside resort in Florida. Seymour places Sybil on a rubber raft and wades into the water, where he tells her the story of "the very tragic life" of the bananafish: they gorge themselves on bananas, become too large to escape their feeding holes, and die. Seymour affectionately kisses the arch of one of her feet, and returns her to shore, where she departs. Once alone, and returning to the hotel, Seymour becomes less affable. He starts a baseless argument with a woman in an elevator, accusing her of staring at his feet and calling her a "god-damned sneak".
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Plot Overview Summary Plot Overview Muriel Glass waits in her Florida hotel room for the operator to put her call through to her mother. The hotel is full for a sales convention, so she must wait a long time. She fixes her clothing, paints her nails, and reads a magazine. When the call does go through, Muriel reassures her anxious mother about her safety.
Muriel is not as concerned as her mother. In the evenings, there are formal dinners and cocktail parties, at which Seymour often sits apart, playing the piano.
The resort is full of society people, although Muriel feels that the quality of these people has diminished since the war. She tells her mother that Seymour is on the beach by himself.
On the beach, three-year-old Sybil Carpenter lets her mother put sunscreen on her body. Carpenter then sends Sybil away so that she can go have cocktails. Sybil wanders far from the part of the beach where the hotel guests are situated. Eventually, she finds Seymour, who knows her. He tells her he likes her blue bathing suit, but her suit is yellow. Sybil accuses him of letting another little girl, Sharon Lipschutz, sit on the bench with him while he played the piano.
Seymour assures Sybil that she is his favorite. Sybil tells Seymour he should push Sharon off the piano bench next time. As they get ready to go into the ocean, Seymour tells Sybil they should look for bananafish. Sybil asks Seymour whether he likes Sharon Lipschutz, and Seymour tells her that he does, especially the fact that she is nice to small dogs and always kind.
He explains that these are normal-looking fish that swim into banana holes and greedily eat all the bananas inside. As a result, the bananafish become so fat that they cannot leave their holes and die. Doubtful of the fish at first, Sybil tells Seymour that she sees a bananafish with six bananas in his mouth. Sybil protests, and when they get out of the water, Sybil runs back to the hotel.
Seymour, alone again, collects his things and returns to the resort. On his way to his room, he accuses a woman in the elevator of looking at his feet.
Seymour proceeds to his room, where Muriel is napping. Sitting on the other bed, he watches her. Then he takes a gun from his luggage and shoots himself in the head.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger
Salinger we have the theme of appearance, innocence, materialism and communication. Taken from his Nine Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Salinger may be exploring the theme of appearance. As Muriel is waiting to use the phone in her hotel bedroom the reader finds that she has spent her time washing her comb and brush, taking a spot out of her skirt and tweezing two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole. Though this may all appear to be insignificant or something Muriel does to simply pass the time while she is waiting for the phone it is more likely that Salinger is highlighting to the reader the importance of appearance or image to Muriel. Salinger may also be exploring the idea or theme of appearance while Muriel is on the phone talking to her mother. This may be significant as it again suggests the importance of appearance to Muriel. She would appear to be judging people based solely on their physical appearance rather than on their character.
A Perfect Day For Bananafish
Plot Overview Summary Plot Overview Muriel Glass waits in her Florida hotel room for the operator to put her call through to her mother. The hotel is full for a sales convention, so she must wait a long time. She fixes her clothing, paints her nails, and reads a magazine. When the call does go through, Muriel reassures her anxious mother about her safety. Muriel is not as concerned as her mother. In the evenings, there are formal dinners and cocktail parties, at which Seymour often sits apart, playing the piano.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish