Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a perfect day for bananafish

So it turned out the stray dog didn't have to stay or return to the desert or get hit by the truck. He could jump on the truck as it passed by and let it take him somewhere else. He almost didn't make it after spending two days sick and too weak to drive. But he won't die in the desert either.

He didn't see any bananafish in the water but he knows what Seymore Glass is talking about. The Salinger story is actually kind of's a comparison of the well-adjusted emotionally distant upper-class snobs and phonies talking about sunburned skin and painting their nails while the army vet talks with the girl, Sybil. No, he isn't a pedophile...he is just looking for someone who can communicate with him in the language he now uses after returning from world war two.

"With her hand, when the float was level again, she wiped away a flat, wet band of hair from her eyes, and reported, "I just saw one."

"Saw what, my love?"

"A bananafish."

"My God, no!" said the young man. "Did he have any bananas in his mouth?"

See, he knows she is pretending to have seen a bananafish. And that is the equivalent of love to him. because his wife doesn't have time for games. look at this conversation she has with her mother...

"Well. How's your blue coat?"

"All right. I had some of the padding taken out."

"How are the clothes this year?"

"Terrible. But out of this world. You see sequins--everything," said the girl.

"How's your room?"

"All right. Just all right, though. We couldn't get the room we had before the war," said the girl. "The people are awful this year. You should see what sits next to us in the dining room. At the next table. They look as if they drove down in a truck."

Seymore had to listen to this kind of conversation all the time he was driving and it makes him sad and lonely that he can't communicate with his wife. I think he identifies with the girl sybil more and also he knows that is inappropriate and he knows he can't live with his wife and he figures he can't even adjust to normal living like in the elevator...

--On the sub-main floor of the hotel, which the management directed bathers to use, a woman with zinc salve on her nose got into the elevator with the young man.

"I see you're looking at my feet," he said to her when the car was in motion.

"I beg your pardon?" said the woman.

"I said I see you're looking at my feet."

"I beg your pardon. I happened to be looking at the floor," said the woman, and faced the doors of the car.

"If you want to look at my feet, say so," said the young man. "But don't be a God-damned sneak about it."---

He's fucked. He doesn't see a solution. He'll either chase his youth again with girls or he will hide in his room. So he kills himself rather than feel sorry for himself or constantly clash with people. The only important metaphor here is between Seymore and the bananafish. Seymore went to war and basically saw more than he can forget so he is trapped in the hole, like the fish who ate bananas until it couldn't get out of the hole. He's crying out for help but Sybil is too young to understand. She thinks it is a game. He has some kind of an obsession with feet, not a fetish, but something about feet have become the object of purity. His feet are forever corrupt and guilty while Sybil's are perfect and innocent. His wife covers her toe nails with paint and to him that is phony and intolerably offensive.

So that's my analysis. It's a dated story because it was written in the '50s. It's also specific to the east coast of the united states. That kind of snobbery and repression is a New York thing. Lots of Americans wouldn't identify with this at all. But that is how Salinger saw the world for some reason...a battle between the superficial snobs and the wounded and hypersensitive young man who believed there is more to the world than padded shoulder jackets and gossip. With Salinger the story always takes place between the lines...sort of like this little exchange.

To Boldly Go...

A friend of mine just asked me
"Did you see Star Trek yet?"
I rolled my eyes.
"No. I didn't see Star Trek. It was in La Paz...but..."
"It was so good."
"Really? It was good?"
"You'd love it."
I stared at the wall. A dog came over and rubbed my hand. I scratched it behind the ears.
"Nice. Yeah, I meant to see it. I really wanted to see it with someone...but..."
"Fantastic movie. The effects...everything."
"That's great. That's just fucking great."
"What's the problem? You too good for Star Trek?"
"Yes! Yes I am too good for Star Trek. If you say another thing about Star Trek I'll PUNCH YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE!"
"Whatever, asshole."
"It's just...I was supposed to see that movie. I wanted to see that movie. And I missed it. I fucked it up."
"So what? You can rent it."
"No, dude. I can't rent it." I punched the chair arm. "I CAN NEVER RENT STAR TREK!"
The dog got startled and ran away. My friend looked at me.
"How about Tropic Thunder?"
"Ben Stiller should be shot for his involvement in Tropic Thunder. What a complete piece of shit."
My friend passed me a bong. I shook my head.
"Were you stoned when you watched it?"
I shook my head and looked at the ceiling.
My friend lit up the bong and said, "Well that explains it."
"Yes. That explains everything."
I called for the dog to come over but it lay in the corner looking at me. Then it fell asleep.

Who can give an analysis of this?

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.