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Themes

The title characters in Franny and Zooey are a brother and sister who, as the result of their shared upbringing and education, are dealing with the same problems in rather similar ways. Family is somewhat isolating in the sense that both Franny and Zooey Glass can only relate to their siblings, not to anyone outside the Glass family. While family is the source of many problems (Zooey blames his older brothers for his anti-social nature), it is also the solution (Franny can only get help through her spiritual crisis by coming home to speak with her brothers).

Questions About Family

  1. While narrating "Zooey," Buddy informs us that all the background info he provides on the Glass family and their time on the Wise Child radio show is "to some degree relevant" (Zooey.2.3) How is it relevant?
  2. How has Seymour's suicide effected the various members of the Glass family? How is his presence still felt in the household?
  3. Zooey tells Bessie that their house is haunted by ghosts: Seymour, who is dead, and Buddy, who is half-dead. How is Buddy half dead, and in what way does he 'haunt' the Glass house?
  4. Zooey reads a letter from Buddy that is four years old. Why incorporate such a dated letter into the text here?
  5. How do these events that happened four years ago tell us what we need to know about the Glass family?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Seymour's death has affected Bessie more than any of her children.

Seymour's death has affected Zooey more than Buddy or Franny.

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