Franny and Zooey PDF ã Franny and PDF/EPUB ²

The short story Franny takes place in an unnamed college town and tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around herThe novella Zooey is named for Zooey Glass the second youngest member of the Glass family As his younger sister Franny suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents' Manhattan living room leaving Bessie her mother deeply concerned Zooey comes to her aid offering what he thinks is brotherly love understanding and words of sage adviceSalinger writes of these works FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed in 1957 by ZOOEY Both stories are early critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth century New York the Glasses It is a long term project patently an ambiguous one and there is a real enough danger I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down perhaps disappear entirely in my own methods locutions and mannerisms On the whole though I'm very hopeful I love working on these Glass stories I've been waiting for them most of my life and I think I have fairly decent monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all available skill


10 thoughts on “Franny and Zooey

  1. says:

    I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobodyThe blinking cursor that preceded this review the place holder of possibility before the big bang of creation speaks volumes when taken in relation to JD Salinger’s exquisite Franny and Zooey In a novel about identity about forging who we are from a blank slate in the void of society and humanity we are constantly called to the floor and reminded how often we impose our ego or wishes our desires and become a caricature of ourselves hoping that by creating a façade self our true self will eventually follow the leader and fill the mold we’ve forged for the world to see We constantly try to pigeonhole the world on our own terms wrongly imposing our own perspective and missing out in the beauty that flowers when we embrace anything as itself without the confines of our implied impressions This creates a highly tuned self conscious atmosphere that makes it difficult to begin writing about without feeling like I myself am imposing my undeserved and unqualified ego by casting these words into the world That damned blinking cursor amidst a field of white on my screen returning again and again after each quickly deleted early attempts made me feel very much like Franny herself sick of realizing that every action is an attempt at being noticed I’m just sick of ego ego ego My own and everybody else’s I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere do something distinguished and all be somebody interesting It’s disgusting Can I write without being a disgusting egomaniac without imposing myself on everyone? My own fears and excuses for writers block aside Salinger perfectly focuses upon the inner crises of anyone that has truly looked themselves in the mirror and assessed both the world around them and their place in it Through a simplistic character driven account of a family thwarted by their own crippling self awareness Salinger crafts a flawless tale of identity and family that takes up right where he left off with Holden Caulfield—where we learn not to judge those around us but to understand and accept one another on their own terms in order to live and love I just never felt so fantastically rocky in my entire lifeThis novel was graciously bequeathed to me at the exact moment it was needed most With a ravenous Midwest winter providing the bleak setting to funerals and my own divorce the existential crisis and subsequent breakdown of Franny Glass was the pure emotional catharsis that kept me positive and afloat across life’s tumultuous sea¹ Franny and Zooey is virtually Zen in novel format and for reasons far surpassing the religious allusions that decorate the novel as well as entice readers into other spiritually gratifying books such as The Upanishads There is something eminently soothing about this Salinger tale of family something that really struck me in the deep regions of my heart and soul and prodded certain defining aspects of my childhood that I tend to keep from conversation Salinger’s prose come across so natural and heartfelt as if he truly were Buddy himself writing the second half and reads like a naturally talented author writing at the pinnacle of his craft The use of italics for example a technique exercised right up to the borderlines of overuse is one of the many tactics Salinger applies² to his literary canvas to conceive life out of a nearly plot less introspective narrative and issuing within it a warm glow to resonate deep within the reader lifting their spirits and calming their minds It feels like the point of conception for Wes Anderson’s entire career and meant as the highest of compliments to both Anderson and Salinger and much of the style and feel of the book touched many of the same literary emotions that stored DFW’s Infinite Jest forever in my heartPresented as two separate yet eternally bound stories Salinger toys with the way we craft our identity in our formative years The first story concerning a dinner between Franny and her egotistical and stuffy collegiate cliché of a boyfriend Lane Coutell presents Franny functioning as an independent individual in the world a singular facet of humanity defined as Franny There is no mention of her family or her past only details pertaining directly to her as the individual at hand However the second story is not one of independent identity but instead has each character represented as an individual in relation to each other—as a product of a family Franny’s obsession with the book The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way which is initially presented—direct from the mouth of Franny in an attempt to portray herself as an independent identity discovering things on her own and forging beliefs untarnished by the influence of others—as a book she took from her college library is revealed in the latter story to be a book held in high regard by the eldest Glass children and borrowed by Franny from their stagnant bedroom We cannot escape our past our family our choices or ourselves and any identity we attempt to form can only become a crumbling façade without this depth of acceptance and awareness We are only who we are in relation to those around us and without accepting both ourselves and the world around us can we become fully actualized identitiesThe Catcher in the Rye a book as essential to any high school literary education as vegetables to any balanced diet gave us Holden Caulfield who put a microscope to society and exposed the bacteria of ‘phoniness’ that is inherent in everyone around him Franny prescribes to this disenchanting reality as well abandoning her laundry list of pleasures upon seeing them as merely a method of stoking her own ego She views her every possible move as just another solution towards conformity and every action as attention seeking I'm not afraid to compete It's just the opposite Don't you see that? I'm afraid I will compete — that's what scares me That's why I quit the Theatre Department Just because I'm so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values and just because I like applause and people to rave about me doesn't make it right I'm ashamed of it I'm sick of it I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody I'm sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of a splash Compare this expression existential angst to the depictions of her boyfriend Lane's true nature is best examined in his juxtaposition to Franny revealed through Salinger’s ominous narration to be one constantly seeking an expression or posture to best capture the exact image of himself that he would ideally envision the world to read from him Lane sat up a bit in his chair and adjusted his expression from that of all round apprehension and discontent to that of a man whose date has merely gone to the john leaving him as dates do with nothing to do in the meantime but smoke and look bored perfectly attractively bored To Lane Franny is just an extension of his costume of attractive social veneer a girl attractive and intelligent enough to be seen with in order for him to be viewed in high regard by his contemporaries It is the Lanes and all the ‘section men’ as Franny terms them who are concerned with the appearance of being a genius than actually being a genius I'm sick of just liking people I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respectWhere Caulfield left us in a feeling of superiority yet devastating darkness for recognizing the fakers and phonies around us Zooey Glass full of unremitting charm tosses a spiritual life raft and allows us to recognize the beauty in the world around us ‘ In the first place’ he lovingly scolds his sister Franny ‘ you’re way off when you start railing atthings and people instead of at yourself’ We are all a part of this world nobody is truly special and above worldly mistakes and foibles and we are all eternally caught in a struggle of identity whether we know it or not Like the best of David Foster Wallace this is a story about those with the mental and emotional acuity to recognize or fear that their actions and beliefs conform to the phoniness of the world regardless of how hard they try to shake it the Glass family is a family of practically card carrying MENSA members with an intellect that is not only a transcendental gift but also a hellishly weighty burden Life is a game we all must unwillingly participate in at least to the extent that we remain alive and in the game and we should not chastise the world and hold ourselves in too high of regard unless we really take a look at our own motives He exposes Franny’s decision to follow the Pilgrim’s method of finding transcendence through relentless prayer to be just another expression of the ego she finds so distasteful in others enacting a self righteous holier than thou attitudes without actually understanding the mask she has chosen to wear Drawing upon the lessons learned from his elder brothers Buddy and Seymour Zooey challenges Franny to look beyond what she considers the ego—’ half the nastiness in the world is stirred up by people who aren’t using their true egosthe thing you think is his ego isn’t his ego at all but some other much dirtier much less basic faculty’—and to recognize the true beauty of everyone around her Inspired by the advice of his eldest brother Seymour whose tragic suicide is chronicled in a short story I’d proclaim as perfect A Perfect Day for Bananafish from Salinger’s Nine Stories that even though the audience can’t see them to shine his shoes ‘ for the Fat Lady’ Zooey proclaims like a hip 1950’s New York bodhisattva Are you listening to me?There isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Syemour’s Fat Lady It’s Christ Himself’ Somehow as if by pure magic Salinger manages to highlight spirituality without the reader feeling like he is preaching or backhanding them with Christianity in fact through the frequent references to many of the world’s religion that wonderfully adorn the novel the message feels entirely universal despite any religious or even non religious beliefs the reader brings to the table but simply professes a triumphant message of universal love that is sure to infiltrate each and every heart To fully exist one must accept the world for what it is love both the blessings and blemishes and accept objects ideas and people on those being's own terms as a thing in itself instead of an imposed belief in what we think they should be We cannot infringe our ego upon the things beyond our grasp but merely fully love them for them We are all four of us blood relatives and we speak a kind of esoteric family language a sort of semantic geometry in which the shortest distance between any two points is a fullish circleEssentially this is a novel about arguments How else can we properly form an identity without our own internal arguments between our disparate ideas and ideals? Religious societal whatever this is a book of great minds coming together to hash out their beliefs in an effort to dig up some sort of truth that you can pocket and carry with you into the harsh weathers of reality The center piece of the book the ever logical and too witty for his own good Zooey engaged in a shouting match with his mother a woman with such wholesome and good natured worldly wisdom that appears as simplicity to an untrained eye is wholly unforgettable and made of the stuff that reminds you why you so love reading books And what better way to craft a novel full of arguments that to focus it upon a family the perfect stage for arguments that allow oneself to shed any social armor and nakedly swing their sword of beliefs and opinions? Upon entering into the second story of the novel Franny and Zooey is of less contained within the confines of the family circle further highlighting Franny’s breakdown³ as the collapse of a socially reinforced personality mask to reduce her to her basic and pure elements as a the youngest member of the Glass family Though Zooey has plans to meet with his television world contacts he doesn’t leave the house until he can set things right the family must be set right before the outside world can be accounted for There seems to be a belief that the family is a functioning being that outweighs that of the individual and reinforces the family vs the outside world ideal that was idolized in the 1950’s television programs like Leave it to Beaver or even Ozzie and Harriet Family values must hold strong against a world that will rio them apart with its frightening winds Salinger who was fully fascinated with his Glass family creation having a file cabinet full of notes about the family and diving deep within their mechanics for much of his fiction creates his ideal family values that must cope with worldly problems such as Seymour’s war experience and fatal struggle with PTSD Buddy and Zooey’s ongoing struggle with a entertainment world entrenched in simple pleasures and ratings than actual intellectual merit or even Franny’s crisis with the ‘ white shoe college boys’ inflicting their stylized genius on those around them The Glass house is a house ‘ full of ghosts’ and the family must accept themselves as a product of this gene pool as a product of the teachings bestowed upon them by their own blood as a functioning member in not only the family but the world at large taking all this into a catalyst for their own identity Interestingly enough it would seem that Franny and Zooey is a book about Buddy and Seymour and their legacy than the title characters themselves It is through the youngest two Glass members that we understand the eldest two This technique of creating a penumbra effect of understanding to actualize Buddy and Seymour in the minds and hearts of the reader is fully in keeping with the idea that we can only form our identity in relation to all those around us Just as we must accept the world around us on its own terms we must accept ourselves on our own and not based on how others will view us An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection and on his own terms not anyone else'sI am reminded of a favorite quote of mine that comes from the cathartically cantankerous with of Charles Bukowski We're all going to die all of us what a circus That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities we are eaten up by nothing We cannot spend our time criticizing others overanalyzing ever flaw and absurdity that presents itself in each face we encounter Because what is gained from this that has any merit to our finite existence? We are all bumbling about trying to find our way in a world whose meaning must inherently escape us and what point would it serve anyhow if we understood life and could just simply follow the dotted line towards a perfect life? This is a novel of staggering importance and cathartic power that far surpasses even the frequently touted The Catcher in the Rye Drawing a Zen like potency from the positive messages found in many of the world’s religion and spiritually influential members Salinger teaches us a valuable lesson about acceptance and identity while simultaneously preforming the luminous task of taking a near static story and plunging the reader so deep into the souls of its characters to light the literary sky with pure vitality and emotional well being that they feel as if it were they that suffered both the existential collapse and recovery upon the Glass’ living room couch Allow Franny to have your breakdown for you and for Zooey to resurrect you from the calamity Allow Salinger to charm you with his perfectly crafted sentences and sage like wisdom Read Franny and Zooey and love the life you live and the world around you55¹ This is not however the ideal book to read when quitting smoking Rest assured I persevered But really practically one cigarette or cigar is lit per page ‘ The cigars are ballast sweetheart Sheer ballast If he didn’t have a cigar to hold on to his feet would leave the ground’ ² Another subtle yet incredible narrative flourish is Zooey's constant use of 'buddy' as a term of endearment to his sister This was a nod to Jay Gatsby frequently calling others 'old sport' in The Great Gatsby³ In the margins of my book I tussled with the idea that Franny’s behavior would be clinically explained as a manic episode but embraced by a literary bent as an existential conundrum This further led to an idea that Lane who viewed Franny’s collapse from a cold callus position of one concerned about having to miss the football game and having to excuse his girlfriends erratic behavior as choosing to see the world from a scientific perspective that he thought should be devoid of emotional rationalization to avoid looking foolish whereas Franny fully embraces emotion as a window into the soul and chooses a spiritual outlook to organize the hustle and bustle of the world in her mind The cards are stacked quite properly I imagine against all professional aesthetes and no doubt we all deserve the dark wordy academic deaths we all sooner or later die