Shawn S. Sullivan
- New York, NY and Silver Bay, NY
- member since January 20, 2007
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“Franny and Zooey is an interesting piece of fiction, in that it is actually a short story and a novella weaved together. The short story is about Franny, a college girl who is in the middle of an existential/spiritual crisis. In the originally separate published novella Zooey, the reader is...”
“Franny and Zooey is an interesting piece of fiction, in that it is actually a short story and a novella weaved together. The short story is about Franny, a college girl who is in the middle of an existential/spiritual crisis. In the originally separate published novella Zooey, the reader is introduced to Franny's brother (titled character), who is emotionally hardened but who waxes philosophically in between puffs on his seemingly endless supply of cigars and cigarettes. The tale is narrated by the oldest brother, Buddy. The reader is also introduced to the secondary and tertiary characters of the slightly-dysfunctional Irish-American Glass family. The Glass children are the product of two retired vaudeville actors. All told, there are seven siblings, two of whom (Seymour and Walt, respectively) are deceased. The other siblings have less play in the novels.
All of the Glass children are exceptionally intelligent and, in the case of Franny and Zooey are ardently interested in theatre acting. Throughout their childhoods, they have each made appearances on a radio talk show for precocious kids. Franny is now a university student and she seems to have become disillusioned at this point in her life, from recent experiences and observations she has made about college and acting, about the egotism that surrounds her on a daily basis. She has taken to a book: The Way of a Pilgrim, which discusses the significance of endless prayer. Soon Franny and Zooey's talks are spanning Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, and the existential drama comes to a gentle halt.
This is one of those novels where there is very little plot action, but it will make you think if you're interested or inclined to ponder topics such as existentialism, spirituality, philosophy and/or consciousness. With Salinger, I've begun to notice a trend in which his characters aren't very lovable and they seem to be living on the fringes of society. While I can't say that the characters are particularly likable, there is something incredibly real about them, and that ought to stand for something.”
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