Short story written by J.D. Salinger and published in his collection Nine Stories.

Like Salinger's greatest novel The Catcher In the Rye, this story is about imagination and the simplicity of being a child.

The main character is Seymour Glass, an ancient soldier who's in vacation at the beach with his superficial girlfriend, Muriel. Muriel and especially her parents believe that he's having serious psychological problems since he came back from war: he supposedly did some strange things with the trees, insulted Muriel and broken her father's car.

During the story, Seymour meets a nice little girl at the beach, Sybil. He talks with her for a while, kid her a lot and they both enjoy it, using his imagination and acting like a kid with her. After that, when he goes back to his hotel room, he starts kidding a lady in the elevator the same way he did with Sybil, but obviously she rejects him, thinking he is a kind of maniac.

Right after that, he went in his room and shot himself.

If you're wondering about the title, here's the part that explains it:

(Setting: Seymour and Sybil are playing together in the sea)

"Miss Carpenter. Please. I know my business," the young man said. "You just keep your eyes open for any bananafish. This is a perfect day for bananafish."
"I don't see any," Sybil said.
"That's understandable. Their habits are very peculiar." He kept pushing the float. The water was not quite up to his chest. "They lead a very tragic life," he said. "You know what they do, Sybil?"
She shook her head.
"Well, they swim into a hole where there's a lot of bananas. They're very ordinary-looking fish when they swim in. But once they get in, they behave like pigs. Why, I've known some bananafish to swim into a banana hole and eat as many as seventy-eight bananas." He edged the float and its passenger a foot closer to the horizon. "Naturally, after that they're so fat they can't get out of the hole again. Can't fit through the door."
"Not too far out," Sybil said. "What happens to them?"
"What happens to who?"
"The bananafish"
"Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can't get out of the banana hole?"
"Yes," said Sybil
"Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die."
"Why?" asked Sybil.
"Well, they get banana fever. It's a terrible disease."

This is a short story written by J.D. Salinger, of The Catcher in the Rye fame. The story revolves around a man who has recently returned from active combat and his fiancée. They take a trip to the beach, where he encounters a sweet, innocent little girl who is maybe four years old. He warns this child against the dangers of "the bananafish." All bananafish, it seems, look identical, and have a similar taste for bananas. He says that the bananafish often stuff so many bananas into their mouths that they can not get in and out of the holes in the sand where they live. The protagonist realizes that it is harmful to the fish, and presumes that they often die.

The symbolism behind this is that once soldiers kill people, it is hard for them to go back to their daily lives when they return from the war. The identical appearance of the fish is representative of the army fatigues that all soldiers wear. The girl, not understanding this, says that she saw a bananafish swim by with six bananas in his mouth. The soldier returns to his hotel room, sees his fiancée asleep on the bed. He pulls out a pistol, puts the barrel against his temple, takes one last look at his fiancée, and fires. The title suggests that it was a perfect day for the veteran to kill himself.

This is essentially an anti-war story outlining the psychological damage done to verterans, as well as their families.

Bannafish as a statement against war? I don't think that was the entire story of what J.D. Salinger was aiming for. If I remember my own reading, and pardon me this is many years ago, I remember Seymour making a big deal out of the color "yellow" and about him talking about emotions filling him up so much that he couldn't express himself. The deal with the color yellow is something Salinger explains later, since it was the color of "physicality." He's so full of emotion and life that he cannot release that he cannot stand living. At least that's what I took from the story, and if I remember the other literary criticisms I had read, they also had thought something similar.

I'm sure what you wrote was part of the whole "Too full of life to continue living" that Seymour was inflicted with, but I don't think it was the entire story. But, once again, keep in mind that these are the opinions of a computer programmer who once read J.D. Salinger for an AP English class final paper, not someone with any sort of credentials. (Though, I did get an A and developed an ulcer in the process.)

This story is a parallel to the concluding story of Nine Stories, Teddy. "Teddy" revolves around mankind's eating of the Biblical apple and gaining knowledge that could never be lost again. The title character, Teddy, undergoes a series of reincarnations, finally reaching a mental state where he can repudiate knowledge and logic and form his own understanding of the universe.

Teddy, theoretically, is a reincarnation of Seymour Glass, subsequent to his death in the first story. This is suggested by the lines describing Teddy's eyes, which also appear in "Seymour, An Introduction", indicating some connection between the two. Seymour and Buddy Glass studied reincarnation implicitly in other "Glass books", although Teddy appears both wiser and more spiritually advanced than Seymour.

The metaphor of the fish eating the bananas in "Perfect Day..." is equivalent to mankind eating the apple of knowledge. The bananafish are unable to leave the cave -- mankind is unable to eliminate the preconcieved notions that it obtained from the apple.

Teddy is killed at the end of "Teddy", in what is generally agreed to be his final death before ascending to a higher plane of consciousness.

WaldemarExkul destroys my point by exposing an obvious flaw in my interpretation, namely the dates on which Seymour died and Teddy was born. Okay. So, rule out literal reincarnation, at least until I do some research. It is instead suggested that Teddy is a projection of Seymour on the part of Buddy -- hence the eyes -- but not literally him. Nonetheless, it seems similar to what Buddy would expect from his brother. Good point!

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