Franny and Zooey
by J.D. Salinger
Franny and Zooey Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- "Franny" and "Zooey" were originally published as two separate short stories before eventually placed together as the novel Franny and Zooey. How is each story changed by its being partnered with the other? How would these read differently as independent stories?
- In other Glass stories, Buddy reveals secretly being the protagonist for many tales, including the seemingly third-person-narrated "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." Is it possible that he, too, is the hidden narrator of "Franny"? What implications might this have for the way we read the story?
- "Franny" opens with Lane, rather than with the protagonist; what is the effect of this artistic choice?
- In his introduction to "Zooey," Buddy writes that what follows "isn't really a short story at all but a sort of prose home movie" (Zooey.1.1). What is he getting at here? What does he mean by a "prose home movie" and how is that different than a short story?
- If Buddy is narrating "Zooey," why does he refer to himself in the third person throughout the text?
- Much of the background info on the Glasses is given in a footnote rather than incorporated into the text. Does this serve a stylistic, practical, artistic, or some other purpose?
- A large chunk of the text of "Zooey" is devoted to the verbatim reprinting of a letter from Buddy. If Buddy is the narrator, why does he have to present his own voice second-hand like this? Why not just tell us directly the information indirectly conveyed by the letter? What purpose does this rather lengthy interlude in the plot serve?
- How do the themes explicitly explored in Franny and Zooey help comment on and unfold the more subtle and difficult tales in Nine Stories?
- In his 2001 article "Holden at Fifty" in the New Yorker, writer Louis Menand says that "Zooey" is an example of Salinger's "supreme literary exhibitionism." Salinger has often been criticized, his works even turned down on account of, this show-offy style, this way of drawing attention to his own authorial cleverness rather than just telling the story of his characters. Do you see this sort of exhibitionism in "Zooey"? If so, is there anything wrong with it? Does it really detract from the story?
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