J.D. Salinger's A Perfect Day For Bananafish Versus Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

1439 words - 6 pages

Throughout J.D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” many different themes are used to reveal how the protagonist is lead to his ultimate demise. In the stories, there are many themes that are used such as the fall from innocence into despair and ruin, split personality casing the character’s ruin, and deterioration into madness and obsession. This paper’s intention is to offer a clear presentation on how the two author’s works are similar and different.
The fall from innocence into despair and ruin forces the characters into their own demise. There are many different times where the narrator in the “The Black Cat” would give examples of how he ...view middle of the document...

The other difference that can be seen is the direction that both characters go once they start to lose their innocence. In Seymour’s case, he loses his innocence and inflicts pain on himself, but for the other character in “The Black Cat” he inflictes pain on other people and animals. Throughout the two stories the fall from innocence leads to the end of both characters.
The split personalities of the two protagonists lead both characters to their own end. In “The Black Cat”, there is a clear split between his two personalities. The split is a lot more visible and grows throughout the story. The vicious line when the narrator shows the alternate personality at its worst can give you a clear distinction, “I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain” (Poe, 6). This quotation shows how the narrator can be an evil cruel person. It also shows how little control he has over himself when he is angered. The quotation also shows how he can just end the life of his wife who he once loved him with no thought at all. In “A Perfect Day For Bananafish”, there are many hints to his alternate personality. This alternate personality is far from what you see of him when he spent time with Sybil. The section when Murial and her mother speak of Seymour, there is great insight and detail into his past. The line “Call me instant he does or say’s anything at all funny---you know what I mean do you hear me?”(Salinger, 10) gives foreshadowing about future events. The mother points out a few problems that he has, and that there is a lot more to his character then he shows in the beginning with Sybil. One of the similarities between the two protagonists would be the fact that they both slowly get worse. In the “The Black Cat”, the fall of the narrator is more prevalent. In the story, it is shown how he slowly inflicts more and more pain on other living creatures. In the case of Seymour, it was more of an internal conflict. This conflict could not be seen easily until the end when he chooses to end it by taking his own life. The protagonist of both stories split personality was brought up in different ways. The split personally in “The Black Cat” is brought up more from the use of alcohol and the path he chooses to go along with in life. In the other story, Seymour’s split personality is pushed onto him by the war and gruesome events he encountered. There is one other big difference concerning both stories. In “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” Seymour tries to get help for his problems. In the other story “The Black Cat” the narrator did nothing for his problem and just let it get worse to the point of no return. The split personality of both protagonists made it impossible for either one to exist, which lead to their final demise.
The deterioration into madness has a large role in leading to the characters own undoing. In “The Black Cat” the protagonist has a slow but clear deterioration into...

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