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9 Stories Essay

3282 words - 14 pages

As a person's life progresses, emotional damage to a child will progress into emotional pain and suffering as an adult. If a child can not get through a stage in their childhood, the child's older self could be harmed. "A proper resolution of the conflicts will lead the child to progress past one stage and move on to the next. Failure to achieve a proper resolution, however, will make the child fixated in the present stage. The latter is believed to be the cause of many personality and behavioral disorders" ("Freud's psychosexual stages of development"). J.D. Salinger wrote short stories to experiment with different personality types under pressure. In each of the stories, Salinger's ...view middle of the document...

Eloise screams at Ramona for leaving room on her bed for her new invisible friend, Micky Mickeranno. After the outburst, Ramona is left frightened and crying in her bed. Ramona created her imaginary friends so that she could have a friend in her childless neighborhood. Eloise's hate for Ramona's invisible friends leads Ramona to be emotionally scarred. In "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"(1949) a relationship between a twenty year old man and a young girl exists. Unlike the previous two stories, the older man is the one emotionally scarred, not the child. The story begins by Muriel and her mother discussing Seymour Glass, Muriel's husband. Muriel's mother depicts Seymour as a terrible man though Muriel loves him. After the conversation, Seymour, a twenty year old war veteran, is found on the beach with a young girl named Sybil. Seymour is eerily calm and very kind to Sybil and in their conversation he hints at his emotional instability. Seymour makes reference to an imaginary fish which seems to parallel the downward spiral of Seymour's life. While walking in from the beach Seymour gets very angry at a women for starring at his feet. When Seymour finally gets to his hotel room, he puts a bullet through his own head to commit suicide. Obviously, by the end of the story, Seymour's emotional distress was too overwhelming and he has nothing left to do but kill himself. The change from army life to "real' life was too much for Seymour. Throughout these three stories, Salinger's characters carry a secret pain which depends on personal circumstances and is unraveled either through dialog or symbolic acting out. Lionel from "Down at the Dinghy" suffers from emotional distress whose cause is unknown to his mother and the reader. Lionel acts out his secret pain in a conversation with his mother. Lionel acts in a disgruntled manner when speaking with his mother on the family boat. Boo Boo, Lionel's mother, does not know why Lionel is so upset. ""˜It is I,' Boo Boo said. Vice Admiral Tennenbaum. Nee Glass. Come to inspect the stermaphors.' There was a response. "˜You aren't an admiral. You're a lady,' Lionel said"(80). Instead of speaking with his mother like a functional child, Lionel ignores her. By ignoring his mother, Lionel is expressing his emotional pain through "the silent treatment." ""˜Ahoy,' Boo Boo said. "˜Friend. Pirate. Dirty dog. I'm back.' Still not looking Lionel abruptly seemed called upon to demonstrate his sailing ability. He swung the dead tiller all the way to the right, then immediately yanked it back in to his side. He kept his eyes exclusively on the deck of the boat"(80). Though Boo Boo is very kind and understanding, Lionel is still very resistant: ""˜My fleet. I'm glad you asked me that,' Boo Boo said, and started to lower herself into the dinghy. "˜Get off!' Lionel ordered, but without giving over to shrillness, and keeping his eyes down. "Nobody can come in'(83). Lionel's resistance to...

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