RE: The Sound of Silence

From: Elizabeth Jones <>
Date: Thu Feb 06 2003 - 19:30:29 EST

I may have interpreted the allusion wrong, but I think it is there and worth considering.  Sybil's name gives it away, but Salinger also includes an extended reference to the story through color references.  Here it is briefly; unfortuantely, I cannot remember all the mythology details from the time I looked into it last year.  Sybil can be seen as Sibyl the Prophetess, who is remembered for passing out golden scrolls of enlightenment, and Seymour, who is symbolized by the color blue, is Glaucus, "The Blue Man," Sibyl's father.  I think the scrolls could be the story of the bananafish, thus the golden color, from which she could learn and share with others.  Sure she may not have regrets now, but she's only a young girl.  The prophet reference makes me think there was a hope element included, but I could also see how the name aberration could symbolize a lost hope.  What do you think?

By the way, I was reading Louis Sachar's There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom today, and I came across a nice reference to Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenter that pertained to the cardinal rules of a Zen monastery.  It's kind of embarassing for a high schooler to be cruising around the children's section, but I can't get enough of Louis Sachar's books.



>From: Yocum Daniel GS 21 CES/CEOE
>To: "''"
>Subject: RE: The Sound of Silence
>Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 21:45:30 -0000
>John, is 'ahppes' the mystical version of happens? Kidding seriously. I
>can't see any hope in the thing either and it seems that maybe the Glass
>menagerie was concocted just for that very purpose. Maybe, Elizabeth, it's
>Jim's meaning breathed reader that helps you see that hope. Or, maybe, you
>are just bubbling with hope and got some on your copy of _Nine Stories_.
>You can't wipe it off, better just buy antoher copy.
>That's an interesting approach to the story. I don't see any glimmer of hope
>throughout it, however. The reason why Sybil runs "without regret" is
>exactly why she will choose, like her mother, to live a life opposite to
>what someone like Seymour valued. Maybe that is why Salinger had introduced
>us to Sybil in the way he did, she is Muriel when she was a young girl.
>Judgemental, jealous and materialistic. Cares about nothing but herself, and
>is too dumb to realize her shortcomings because she was raised by a twisted
>As I expounded in the original post, the only young person who can escape
>such a pathetic existence is the Anonymous Man, and this ahppes only through
>a mystical experience. So I don't see much in the way of hope in any of the
>tales in Nine Stories, only malcontent and desire.
>John Gedsudski
>Adjunct Professor of Economics
>Northern Philistia Community College
>Whirly Wood, Conn.
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