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Literature / Franny and Zooey

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Franny and Zooey comprises a short story and a novella by J. D. Salinger, published together as a book in 1961; the short story and the novella originally appeared in The New Yorker in 1955 and 1957, respectively. The short story "Franny" serves as a prologue to the events of "Zooey".

Though nowhere near as popular or influential as The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey has a cult following. It has been widely suggested that The Royal Tenenbaums is a loose, unofficial adaptation of this book, due to the fact that both contain a dysfunctional, gifted family, one of which is voluntarily locked in a bathroom.

In case you're wondering, yes, Zooey Deschanel is named after the "Zooey" character, despite the latter actually being male.

This novel provides examples of:
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Glass family
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  • Author Avatar: Buddy Glass, narrator and The Ghost of "Zooey." In the later novella "Seymour: An Introduction," Buddy also claims authorship of "Franny." Some have also proposed this may extend to fellow Ghost, the deceased brother Seymour.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Glass family is one due to Seymour's suicide and the fact the children were precociously bright and grew up famous.
  • Broken Bird: Franny copes by becoming incredibly cynical about everything until Zooey snaps her out of it.
  • The Ghost: Father Les Glass and all five of the elder Glass children, particularly Seymour and Buddy (excepting Buddy's letter to Zooey and claimed status as narrator of "Zooey").
  • Ivy League for Everyone: "Franny" takes place at Princeton during a game against Yale.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Zooey spends approximately nine pages ranting at Franny about religion and how she's going about everything the wrong way. He only breaks off when he realises she's crying her eyes out.
  • The 'Verse: Franny and Zooey, the later novellas Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, a third of Salinger's Nine Stories, and Salinger's final published work, the rare short story "Hapworth 16, 1924", all feature the Glass family.
    • Indeed, The Verse may extend further still. In "Seymour," Buddy Glass, narrator of "Zooey," claims authorship not only of "Franny" and the Glass story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" but, in fact, states he is also the author of the non-Glass story "Teddy" and strongly implies he is the author of The Catcher in the Rye. If true, this would imply all of Salinger's stories - or at least almost all, excluding perhaps "Hapworth 16, 1924" and "For Esme, with Love and Squalor" - are Buddy's writings. If true, the character Holden Caulfield of Catcher and the stories "I'm Crazy" and "Slight Rebellion Off Madison" (who seem to be the same, as the events of the latter two are almost identical to events in the novel) may have been inspired by the "real-life" (in The Verse) Holden Caulfield, a 19-year-old who is stated as being MIA near the end of World War II in the stories "The Last Day of the Last Furlough" and "This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise." Under this theory, the "real" Holden's elder brother Vincent (himself revealed to be killed in action in the story "The Stranger") is an Army mate of Buddy's.
      • For that matter, some have also theorized "For Esme" is either a letter from Seymour (as "Hapworth 16" supposedly is) or a letter from Buddy posing as Seymour so as not to let Esme know Seymour is dead.


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