Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Short Story: A Perfect Day for Banana fish by JD Salinger

A Perfect Day for Banana fish by JD Salinger opens with Muriel Glass waiting to be connected on the phone. While she is waiting she coolly uses the time reading a fashion magazine, and painting her nails amongst other things.

"She used the time, though. She read an article in a women's pocket-size magazine, called "Sex Is Fun-or Hell." She washed her comb and brush. She took the spot out of the skirt of her beige suit. She moved the button on her Saks blouse. She tweezed out two freshly surfaced hairs in her mole. When the operator finally rang her room, she was sitting on the window seat and had almost finished putting lacquer on the nails of her left hand."

It is her mother who is worried about Muriel Glass. She keeps talking about Muriels' husband Seymour who seems not quite normal. Muriel brushes it all aside. Meanwhile Seymour is at a beach when a small girl Sybil chats up with him. They talk silly as is with an adult and a child. He talks about Banafish to her wishing to show it to her. She seems to see one too. Abruptly he gets up, and when he takes the lift, he thinks the woman n the lift is starng at hs feet. He lets it known to her. He comes back to his room, finds his wife sleeping peaefully in one of the twin beds and picks up his his gun, aiming it.....

This story is not as smple as it seems. It is a complex story. It speaks of a man who is under severe depression. Maybe due to the war. He is self conscious of his pale skin. He needs to be understood but his wife is more bothered about fashion and trivial talks. She does not even try to understand him. The best part of the story is when Sybil and Seymour interact.

"Are you going in the water?" Sybil said. "I'm seriously considering it. I'm giving it plenty of thought, Sybil, you'll be glad to know." Sybil prodded the rubber float that the young man sometimes used as a head-rest. "It needs air," she said."

Despite the tragic end, it has its lighter moments...