Teddy's Death Two Ideas on How Teddy Died

Teddy killed himself

Teddy writes small passages within his diary. The last one he writes says that “it will happen either today or February 14, 1958” when he turns 16 (Salinger 179). Teddy knew that he was going to die this day and there are multiple scenarios in the book where he hints to this, this diary entry being one of them. While Teddy is talking to Nicholson he makes up a situation where he could go down to the pool and there would be no “water in it. This might be the day where they change the water” and this exact problem occurred and was the cause of Teddy’s death (190). Teddy is calm when it comes to death and he refers to people who do worry about it as “silly” (190). If Teddy jumped to his death it would also explain why the scream at the end is “clearly coming from a small, female child”, Booper sees Teddy and screams (195). Teddy does not scream when he jumps because he is not afraid of what might happen next and he knows that he will just begin his next life.

Teddy was pushed

Booper pushes Teddy into the pool because she thinks it is the right thing to do based off of his very outspoken opinion about death. The “all-piercing, sustained scream – clearly coming from a small, female child,” belongs to Booper as she realizes what she has done (Salinger 195). With her brother constantly spewing his ideas about reincarnation and his lack of fear about death Booper thinks this is what Teddy wants. Booper didn’t have malicious intent when she pushed Teddy. “My sister’s only six, and she hasn’t been a human being for very many lives” with Teddy knowing this information he’s willingly influencing his sister and if that comes with consequences, he’s going to have to face them (Salinger 191). Since Teddy is such a hardcore believer of Buddhism he would never kill himself. According to Buddha “an action, even if it brings benefit to oneself, cannot be considered a good action if it causes physical and mental pain to another being” (BBC 1). Teddy’s family would be put in pain, therefore he would not commit suicide. "What would be so tragic about it [his death], though? What's there to be afraid of, I mean? I'd just be doing what I was supposed to do, that's all, wouldn't I?" if what Teddy is saying is true then nobody but Teddy himself would gain from his death (Salinger 191). Teddy gets to move on to a new and possibly better life through reincarnation. Booper killed her own brother out of being a naive child and immediately regretted it. Teddy could not have killed himself because it would go against his beliefs.

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Lillian Matz
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