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In "A Perfect Day for a Bananafish," does Seymour's name symbolize that we should "see...

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atipton10 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM via web

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In "A Perfect Day for a Bananafish," does Seymour's name symbolize that we should "see more" in him than what the mother and daughter see? Should we "see more" in him than what the mother and daughter discuss on the phone or does his name have no meaning?

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kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:14 PM (Answer #1)

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It can be noted that Sybil Carpenter is the only one who is able to "see more" in Seymour Glass. Seymour's distinct issues should be apparent to the everyday world; however, it takes the eyes and understanding of a child to show the readers who Seymour actually is. He seems to have stunted and reverted psychosexual development after being released from the military hospital, and thus we can only "see" him through the eyes of Murial and Murial's mother -- who are actually quite shallow and materialsitic. Seymour is trapped in his own perception of reality, as he seems to "see more" than the other characters as well -- such as his "tattoo." While the superficial characters scoff at him because he does not have an apparent tattoo, we as readers can understand that this is clearly Seymour's way of demonstrating the marking that has been left behind. Such as the story of the bananafish, foreshadowing the demise of Seymour. While most adults would disregard the story as a lewd, and perhaps grotesque fairy tale about overconsumption, Sybil, the only one able to "see more" "sees" a bananafish indulging in six bananas. This vilifies Seymour, thus further emphasizing the tragedy of the story--that he will forever be trapped inside a child's mental existence in a grown man's body.

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sallyenjoy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 21, 2010 at 9:31 PM (Answer #2)

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yes, it means that he has the ability to see more, in reference to his wisdom and knowledge of eastern philosophies. More like he is enlightened, or liberated. He is aware of everything around him

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tochrism | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2010 at 3:51 AM (Answer #3)

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Don't forget his last name, 'Glass.'  Just like the little girl says: "See more glass." It's actually dark humor: To look at life is a lot like looking through a window only to see another window (and another, and another). 

So, yes, he 'sees' more than most of us, but he also sees that there's no end to 'seeing'. There's no big truth about life. And he can't go on living without an explanation for why life (the horrors of war) can be so horrible.   

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marylo | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 21, 2010 at 5:22 PM (Answer #4)

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Maybe it means that we should try to "see more" and then "say more" about what we might discover regarding the intricate and often conflicting and contradictory ways we learn to show and recognize the fundamental love between us.

Love from marylo

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