A Perfect Day for Bananafish Questions and Answers
by J. D. Salinger

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In the story "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish" what is the significance or connection between the "bananafish" and the story?

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kristenfusaro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Seymour Glass is characterized by his peers as someone who is completely out of control; he was released from the military hospital, and no one seems to understand why he was released because of his ludicrous behavior. He does, however, seem to relate particularly well to a very young girl, Sybil.

Sybil's mother mistakes Sybil's comments of "Seymour Glass" with that of "see more glass," thus implying that Sybil is the only one who can see through Seymour as if he was glass. This becomes apparent in his story of the bananafish.

According to Seymour's story, the bananafish appear "perfectly normal" until they swim into a hole and overly consume large amounts of bananas in which they obtain "banana fever." This fever prevents the fish from being able to leave the hole, and thus they die from their excess. As Sybil is the only one who is able to "see more glass," she also has the ability to see a...

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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dirod | Student

To me it represents Seymour itself, the bananafish is an ordinary looking one but with a tragic live, seymour is of that kind, affected strongly and differently by war than ordinary people reacts tragicgly killing himself, the reference of blue denotes calm, its almost a filosophical decition. The references of sexual nature are there as in any human being, but a sensityve nature as the writers one wouldnt give them a role except a satirical one, playing with the references and the posible readings.

mastermind242424 | Student

The big picture shows that the bananafish represents societies tendency to focus on material possessions, over-indulge, and waste life and ultimately die from their over-consumption. Reading this story for the first time, I remember I thought for sure there was some sort of sexual symbolism involved here. The whole story about a "banana" fish going into a whole then never being able to leave seemed like a symbol for being whipped. And when the little girl is in the water with Seymore, it is said she throws her head back in pleasure and claims to see a bananafish while Seymore holds her by her feet and pushes her back and forth. The sexual innuendo was too much to ignore.