Thoughts On “Seymour: An Introduction”

I think I am currently going through a haiku phase. A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had the urge to read one – I hadn’t read one since middle school – and that was the beginning.

Here is one of my favorites from Basho:

Come, butterfly
It’s late-
We’ve miles to go together

And now, I learn that Seymour was also a huge haiku fan – not to mention the fact that he also wrote them. Did I really need more reasons to fall in love with Seymour?

I feel like a young Buddy Glass, left behind after Seymour killed himself. I think I am cursed forever to grieve for Seymour- to admire all of his imperfections and constantly be in awe of him.

After reading the Catcher In The Rye, I used to think that Salinger was some sort of misanthrope, and looked down upon the people he thought of as phonies. The only people who he liked were those who were earnest. After reading about the Glass family, I’ve completely changed my mind. First off, there’s Seymour’s advice about the Fat Lady from “Franny and Zooey” – how every single person is worth shining your shoes for. Then we have Seymour talking about his very dull mother-in-law in “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters”.

“She’s an irritating, opinionated woman, a type Buddy can’t stand. I don’t think he could see her for what she is. A person deprived, for life, of any understanding or taste for the main current of poetry that flows through things, all things. She might as well be dead, and yet she goes on living, stopping off at delicatessens, seeing her analyst, consuming a novel every night, putting on her girdle, plotting for Muriel’s health and prosperity. I love her. I find her unimaginably brave.”

To me that sounds like a mixture of condescending pity and admiration. Hmm…

And we have the beautiful ending to Seymour: An Introduction, where Buddy talks about how the most important thing he will do next is go to Room 307 where he will be giving a lecture, because his students are all very important, just as important as every other human being, that they all “shine”.

“Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next.”

That makes me feel better about life, somehow.

Before I end this post- here is my first attempt at a haiku:

My room, cold and still
The stars on my low ceiling
Bring warmth and comfort

Oh boy, that was embarrassing to post. It is probably terrible. But as a wise dog who goes by the name of Jake once said: “Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.” We’ll see, I suppose. Until then, I’ll keep shining my shoes for the Fat Lady.

One last note: I always find it very difficult to write about a book I really enjoyed. I can never say exactly what I mean to say and my thoughts ramble all over the place. It’s very sad to be feeling all these feelings yet be unable to express them completely.


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