- Franny and Zooey
infobox Book |
name = Franny and Zooey
image_caption = 1961 hardcover
J. D. Salinger
language = English
publisher = Little, Brown
release_date = Fall 1961
media_type = Print (Hardback &
pages = 201 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-316-76954-1 (hc)
| preceded_by = Nine Stories
"Franny and Zooey" is a novel by
J. D. Salinger, published in 1961. Franny and Zooey, a sister and brother both in their 20s, are the two youngest members of the Glass family, which was a frequent focus of Salinger's writings. The novel takes place over a long weekend in November 1955.
The first chapter, "Franny," is a significantly shorter chapter than the second. It takes place in an unnamed college town during the weekend of "the Yale game" and tells the tale of an
undergraduatewho is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.
The second chapter, named for "Zooey" — who is Franny's older brother by five years — is much longer. Zooey is a somewhat emotionally toughened genius who at the age of twelve had "a vocabulary on an exact par with
Mary Baker Eddy's." As Franny suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents' Manhattanliving room — leaving her mother, Bessie, deeply concerned — Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.
First chapter: "Franny"
This chapter concerns
Franny Glass's weekend date with her collegiate boyfriend, Lane Coutell. The location of "Franny" is unclear, but in John Updike's 1961 review of the book in " The New York Times" [http://www.nytimes.com/1961/09/17/books/updike-by-salinger.html] , he describes this way: "In the first story, she arrives by train from a Smith-like college to spend the week-end of the Yale game at what must be Princeton." Franny is carrying with her a book, which turns out to be The Way of a Pilgrim, a Russian religious text that explores the idea of continuous prayerand spiritual illumination.
The two go out for lunch. Lane is ambitious and pretentious. He takes Franny to a fashionable lunch spot, and tries to impress her with his news of receiving a suggestion to publish his latest paper on
Flaubert. Franny appears upset, questioning the importance of college education and the worth of Lane's friends. She eats nothing, and is smoking, sweating, and feeling faint, and must excuse herself to visit the restroom, where, after a crying spell, she regains her composure. She returns to the table, where Lane questions her on the small book she has been carrying. She responds nonchalantly that the book is titled " The Way of a Pilgrim" and tells the story of how a Russian wanderer learns the power of "praying without ceasing." The " Jesus Prayer," as it is known, involves internalizing the prayer to a point where, in a manner similar to a Zen koan, it becomes unconscious, almost like a heartbeat, ultimately leading to spiritual enlightenment. Lane is less interested in the story than in keeping their timetable for the party and football game, though when Franny faints, he tends to her and postpones the weekend's activities. After she wakes, he goes to get a taxi, and leaves Franny alone — practicing the act of praying without ceasing.
econd chapter: "Zooey"
This chapter continues the story of Franny's "nervous breakdown" and takes place on Monday, two days after Franny's trip to New Haven. It also elaborates on the story of the
Glass Family: The unusual upbringing of the Glass children, with radio appearances as child geniuses and philosophy around the dinner table, has created a unique bond among them, and they understand each other more than anyone else could.
The chapter begins with Zooey, smoking and soaking in a tub, reading a four-year-old letter from his brother, Buddy. His mother, Bessie, enters the bathroom, and the two have a long discussion, centering upon Bessie's worries about his sister, Franny, whose existential depression seen in chapter one has progressed to a state of emotional collapse. During the conversation, Zooey verbally spars and banters with his mother and repeatedly requests that she leave. Bessie tolerates Zooey's behavior, and simply states he's becoming more and more like his brother Buddy.
After Bessie leaves, Zooey gets dressed and moves into the living room, where he finds Franny on the sofa with her cat Bloomberg, and begins speaking with her. After upsetting Franny by questioning her motives for reciting the "
Jesus Prayer," Zooey retreats into the former bedroom of Seymour and Buddy, Franny and Zooey's two older brothers, and reads the back of their door, covered in philosophical quotations. After contemplation, Zooey telephones Franny, pretending to be their brother Buddy. Franny eventually discovers the ruse, but she and Zooey continue to talk. Knowing that Franny reveres their eldest brother, Seymour — the psychologist, spiritual leader, and confidante of the family, who committed suicide years earlier while on vacation with his wife ( which is also the focus of "A Perfect Day for Bannanfish" a short story also by J.D. Salinger.) — Zooey shares with her some words of wisdom that Seymour once gave him. By the end of the call, as the fundamental "secret" of Seymour's advice is revealed, Franny seems, in a moment reminiscent of a mystical satori, to find profound existential illumination in what Zooey has told her.
Salinger's known interest in eastern religious philosophy such as
Zen Buddhismand Hindu Advaita Vedantaare evident throughout the book, particularly in a brief section in the second chapter that includes quotations from spiritual texts. There's also a discussion of whether the book is a "mystical story" or a "love story" in the opening section of the second chapter, as speculated by the book's "narrator," Buddy Glass (who decides it's the latter). Gerald Rosen, in his short 1977 book "Zen in the Art of J. D. Salinger", observes that "Franny and Zooey" could be interpreted as a modern Zen tale, with the main character, Franny, progressing over the course of the novel from a state of ignorance to the deep wisdom of enlightenment.
"Franny and Zooey" originally appeared in the form of two short stories in "
The New Yorker" magazine. "Franny" appeared in the magazine in January 1955, and "Zooey" in May 1957. Salinger published the novel "Franny and Zooey" in September 1961, through Little, Brown and Company.
* 1961, United States, Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-76954-1, Hardback
* 1991, United States & Canada, Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-76949-5, Soft cover, Reprint
Zooey Deschanelwas named after Salinger's protagonist. She however pronounces her name: Zō - ey (with the accent on the first syllable), unlike the Salinger character, whose name is pronounced:Zoo-ey (ZŪ - ey). [ [http://www.imdb/com/name/nm0221046/bio Biography of Zooey Deschanel on IMDB website] ]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114092/ Pari (at IMDB)] : An Iranian movie, unauthorized adaptation of "Franny and Zooey" and "
A Perfect Day for Bananafish".
* [http://literapedia.wikispaces.com/Franny+and+Zooey Franny and Zooey] chapter summaries found on [http://literapedia.wikispaces.com Literapedia]
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