Franny And Zooey: United Essay, Research Paper
Franny and Zooey: United by Laura Cattani Mr. Detloff Nov. 16, 1998 Period 3 Although quite different in plot and structure, the two stories: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger work together to form a unified piece of literature with an incredibly deep message. While the whole problem, or climax is set up in Franny, Zooey deals with it, explains it, and finally solves it in the end. Franny and Zooey Glass are sister and brother, respectively, who are both “freaks”(103) and can not deal with reality. They were taught Zen Buddhism and many other religions and philosophies by their two older brothers Seymour and Buddy. Franny and Zooey incidentally get frustrated with and can not relate to people who are not as intellectual as them. All of this frustration erupts in Franny as she has lunch with her boyfriend Lane at a diner called Sickler’s. She begins by picking at Lane and then complaining about all of her professors and other people at her college. She finally breaks down and passes out because of this frustration. Franny ends during her breakdown and Zooey begins in New York at the Glass apartment. Bessie, their mother, is upset because of Franny’s state and asks Zooey to help her deal with her. After long discussions in the bathroom with his mother about why Franny had a nervous breakdown, Zooey finally goes and tries to talk to Franny. However, both people are very stubborn and are so angry with the rest of the world that they eventually bring their anger on each other. Zooey resorts to lecturing Franny on why she is having problems. He says it is because of the book she is reading called ‘The Pilgrim Continues His Way’ which says that to attain enlightenment one must incessantly repeat the Jesus Prayer. However, Zooey becomes angry with Franny because he says that she has no right to pray the Jesus Prayer because she does not even understand Jesus himself. When Franny was younger she became mad at Jesus for being zealous and Zooey tells her she cannot say his prayer if she does not understand him and this is part of the root of her breakdown.
The two stories come together to form a unified piece of literature at the end of Zooey when Zooey calls Franny from Seymour and Buddy’s old room as Buddy. Although Franny figures it out that it is really Zooey calling and not Buddy, she remains on the line and her and Zooey work out and solve their problems. Zooey has two more things to tell her. First of all, he agrees with her that they both “had the exact same goddam freakish upbringing”(199) and so they do have reason to often become frustrated and angry at people but that they also both share an extreme amount of talent. The last point that Zooey makes is that they must both use their talents to the best of their abilities simply for “Seymour’s Fat Lady”(201) if for no one else. This is because in the end they are not living their lives for those other morons on earth but rather that Fat Lady who is “Christ Himself”(202). This revolutionary idea reveals the whole meaning of the two stories: that Fanny and Zooey must use their talents and deal with their world for religion and stop using religion to deal with their problems.