Franny and Zooey
by J.D. Salinger
Bessie Glass Timeline and Summary
- Mrs. Glass (a.k.a. Bessie) interrupts Zooey's bath. The narrators makes a point of saying that you can't figure out her age. She wears a blue kimono with pockets full of tools and other handy stuff.
- She ignores her Zooey's disapproval of her presence while she complains about Buddy's not having a phone.
- Bessie's greatest concern is for her daughter, Franny, who hasn't eaten and is apparently planning on not going back to college.
- She's also worried about how the painters will do the living room when Franny is crying on the couch there.
- We learn that Bessie is attractive and that she still has nice legs form her vaudeville days.
- Bessie leaves but then returns again to the bathroom while Zooey is shaving. She discusses Franny's boyfriend, Lane Coutell with him. She then perfectly encapsulates Zooey's nature in a singe sentence. He admires her for this.
- She tries to tell Zooey to adapt himself to the world.
- Bessie listens as Zooey discusses the religious books that Franny is reading.
- He complains that he and his sister are both "freaks," and that it is the fault of Seymour and Buddy for teaching them religion and philosophy at such a young age (Zooey.5.54).
- Bessie responds by asking Zooey why he doesn't get married soon.
- She listens to Zooey's arguments against psychoanalysis.
- Bessie, after hearing her son's explanation of the two religious books, wonders if her daughter is trying the Jesus Prayer herself. She wants Zooey to talk to Franny.
- Bessie tries (again) to give her daughter some chicken soup. When the phone rings, she talks to "Buddy" (who we know is really Zooey) and hands the call off to Franny.