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Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" is a tragic short story about Seymour Glass' mental problems while vacationing with his wife. There are a number of ways to understand what the exact problem is, but the main conflict is internal. One can say that it is Seymour's inability to understand or be understood by the people around him. After befriending a little girl on the beach who convinces him to go in the water, he explains that there are these bananafish who swim into underwater holes and eat bananas until they grow too fat to get back out of their holes and die there of banana fever. Then on the way back to his hotel room he yells at a woman to stop looking at his feet, and follows this up by going into his room and shotting himself. Seymour's suicide and the anguish leading up to it, is the internal conflict in the story. Given the strange circumstances leading up to his suicide, it's not so difficult to see why this story is hard to understand. The parable of the story may have something to do with a Buddhist view on the world: everyone is trapped in this world because of their desires.
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