Franny and Zooey
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The text, Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger, is essentially two short stories or novellas, initially published separately, but since combined as a result of their close thematic elements. In the first, the focus is on the experiences of Franny Glass, a young woman who meets up with her boyfriend for a football game at an unnamed college. Despite the celebratory atmosphere around them, neither Franny nor her boyfriend engage in any of the festivities; they are too put off by the false atmosphere around them and the level of superficiality in the other students. She has a breakdown, expressing her disgust with the overall environment to her boyfriend; she admits her growing interest in the “Jesus prayer,” something that is meant to be repeated as a form of meditation to clear one’s spirit. It is because of this inclusion that the common theme of religious belief and existential though become apparent, which is common for Salinger.
The second half, “Zooey,” is told through the eyes of Franny and Zooey’s older brother, Buddy. Franny has come home from her emotionally trying weekend, with the story originating on the Monday after these events had occurred. The majority of this story is the conversation between Franny and her brother, Zooey, encouraged by their mother, Bessie. Here again, the existential elements and the theme of religious beliefs become apparent. The two individuals discuss their various beliefs, and what they were taught to believe about the world. In the end, Franny is able to achieve a sort of spiritual and personal peace, largely through the in-depth conversation she had with her brother.