sgt. x and seymour

From: Kim Johnson <>
Date: Fri Jan 10 2003 - 12:51:13 EST

personally, i never connected the two. i know some
critics think sgt. x might have been seymour, but i
don't think that's true.

apart from chronology etc., sgt. x has 'adapted'.
note the tone of the introduction to 'for esme'.
seymour could never have written the story. (nor, for
that matter, could buddy.) sgt. x is neither a poet
nor a god-seeker. the two personalities aren't

the similarity is the fact that both men suffered
nervous breakdowns in the war.

sgt.x's breakdown is fairly well documented in the
story. seymour's breakdown is not. if we marshal the
facts, about all we have is the statement in
'bananafish' that it was a crime the army released him
from a hospital. buddy says in 's:ai' that he and
seymour recently returned from the european theater of
operations shortly before he wrote 'bananafish'. that
leaves the question what were buddy and seymour doing
after the end of the war. when did seymour go into
the hospital? what happened?

  alsen, in *his* interpretation, reads buddy's remark
in 's:ai', that seymour during the last three years of
his life was 'both in and out of the army, but mostly
in, well in' as meaning that seymour was in an army
psychiatric ward during that entire time (and was
released shortly before 'bananafish'). i believe this
is a stretch. we don't know. we certainly need some
more information to know what happened to the seymour
of 'raise high' from the elopement onward to the
seymour on the florida beach.


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Received on Fri Jan 10 12:51:14 2003

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