This lesson on the dangers of materiality, madness, isolation and innocence among the people in the society is important because it discourages the children from engaging in such aspects of life. The lesson is important in shaping the moral behavior of the children by discouraging them from involvement in various activities like war and sexual activities. The lesson educates about mental torture relating to war and sexual innuendos are well brought in this story in order to warn the children and members of the society against the negative consequences of war and sexual abuse in life.
The impact of sexual activities on the spirituality of the people is the use in the story to discourage the children from engaging in such absurd activities and practices in life. The complicated nature of adulthood is used in the story in order to discourage the children from participating in the activities of adults as sex and war. The story also aims at warning the children against the war activities due to the negative consequences it is associated with. The story is effective in the presentation of relevant themes like innocence, spirituality and madness in order to warn the children against participating in activities that may lead to harmful effects on their lives (Salinger, 2). The characters in the story present the aspects relating to the dangers of war in order to discourage the children from participating in war since it is associated with mental illness and aspects of isolation in life. The story also discourages the children from the aspects relating to materiality and selfishness in life.
This story shows the contrast between the world of children and that of adults. The children in the story are presented to be curious, imaginative and innocent while the adults are portrayed as selfish, materialistic and shallow in their approach to life. The children are also presented to be more spiritual than the adults in the story. Seymour in the story is shown a lot of innocence and curiosity in relation to life of children. Seymour is quiet and placid in the story. Seymour yearned and wished to go back to the life of childhood in due to the innocence and calmness in childhood. The actions of Seymour in the story are childlike and harmless. The communication between Sybil and Seymour helped in calming and comforting Seymour. Seymour also helped to bring out the violent nature of adulthood through his act of suicide and his outburst to the woman on the elevator. The shallow approach of adult to life is shown by the way Seymour committed suicide and the way he shouted angrily at the woman on the elevator.
The story also helps to bring out the theme of madness is brought out by the way Seymour was affected by the war activities and experience. The participation of Seymour in the Second World War made him suffer mental torture due to the dangerous and harmful nature of the war. The post-traumatic stress affected Seymour a lot to the extent that he committed suicide. The adults around him did not understand Seymour; therefore, he engaged in the childlike activities in order to look for calmness. This story, therefore, aims at discouraging the children from participating in the war by appealing to the dangers of war like mental illness or madness as was the case in Seymour.
This story also helps to bring out the theme of isolation caused by mental illness. The involvement in the Second World War made Seymour very difficult to participate or freely associate with the members of the society back at home. Seymour was isolated mentally, physically and spiritually in his approach to life. The effects of the war are portrayed as dangerous and isolating in nature. This story, therefore, discourages the children from engaging in the war activities by using the mental illness as a threat. The children are, therefore, warned against the mental, spiritual and physical isolation associated with war.
The aspects of materialism are brought in the story by showing how Muriel lived in her world of wealth. Muriel lived a luxurious life as shown by how she painted her nails, leather luggage and silk dress. The luxurious helps to bring out the divide between Seymour and Muriel. Muriel was more concerned about her luxurious life than the psychological trauma his husband Seymour was going through. Muriel spent her time to make her hair and to read the woman magazines, while Seymour read poetry in order to seek calmness in his life. She was also very concerned about expensive clothes and fashions leaving her husband isolated emotionally. It is shown in the story that even when the mental state of Seymour was being discussed, they kept shifting their conversation to the fashion and luxurious life (Salinger 4).This story, therefore, helps the children to avoid the dangerous aspects of materialism in their lives. The luxurious life is discouraged highly in the story. The pursuit of materiality is portrayed as a danger to spirituality and the soul.
In conclusion, the author used the relationship between Seymour and Muriel to bring out the aspects of isolation and madness related to the war activities. The dangers of materiality to spirituality and the soul are brought out well through the relationship between Seymour and Muriel in the story. The aspects of innocence of childhood are brought out through the relationship of Seymour with Sybil.
Salinger, J D. Salinger: the Catcher in the Rye & Nine Stories: Notes. Toronto: Coles, 1981. Print.