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Bananafish - UVA Supplement: Work of literature that surprised me

Gmvargas 1 / -  
Dec 31, 2018   #1
I'd really appreciate some advice and feedback on my essays, especially my first one!

What work of art, music, science, mathematics, or literature has surprised, unsettled, or challenged you, and in what way? (250 Words)

"A Perfect Day for Bananafish"

When I was sixteen, one of my best friends went to the hospital. A suicide attempt, I later found out. I was upset, I was confused, but overall, I was angry. I was angry at myself for not noticing a little sooner, not paying closer attention to the signs, not listening a little harder to what she was saying.

The first time I read the final sentence of Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," I was so shaken at how it rang true seventy years after its publication. It's only in the last paragraph that Salinger writes out Seymour Glass' suicide, but the signs are sprinkled throughout the short story in the most subtle ways. From mentions of reckless driving to empty anger, Salinger paints the picture of a man haunted by trauma. Yet there's still that bit of shock when Seymour finally pulls that trigger.

Human connection. Listening to one another. So many of us have become so disconnected from one another that we hear but never stop to listen to the words coming out of someone else's mouth. That's where the beauty of "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" shines. It shows the power that miscommunication can have over us today. The smallest misinterpretation of a word or gesture can lead to the wrong conclusion. So many of us can say that we're okay, and people won't question it.

If there's anything that "Bananafish" has taught me, it's the importance of looking out for one another and listening, not just hearing, to what we have to say. It's through that communication that we're able to prevent the preventable.

Is the topic that I chose too heavy? It's a story that I hold close to my heart but I'm scared I'll come off as "overly edgy" or that it'll look like I just chose something that I read in class. I know I'm over the word limit too, but I think I can fix that fairly easily.

Holt - / 7,530 2001  
Dec 31, 2018   #2
Well, the literature that you chose definitely had an unsettling element on your part. Don't worry about being seen as overly edgy. That is what makes the essay impressive and stand out. The fact that you are able to relate it to something that occurred in your life, is even better. However, as a reviewer, I would have liked to have read more about how the novel and its story resonated with your own story. What was it about the story that unsettled you. What signs did you miss? Which character did you identify with in the story and why? Consider yourself challenged to place yourself in a fictional setting with a realistic setting. Build more on the story of your friendship, the sings that your friend was reaching out to you for help, and how you thought it was nothing. You know, run a parallel story with the novel. Compare and contrast the stories but end with how the novel gave you a learning experience.

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