Franny and Zooey
by J.D. Salinger
Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis
For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.
Note: Because Salinger wrote "Franny" and "Zooey" as separate stories, each has a plot that is complete in and of itself. Because of this, we chose to analyze the plot of each story separately. As an exercise, you could always look at the novel as a whole and determine the different plot stages this second way. Let us know if you discover anything interesting.
"Franny": Act I
Franny and Lane meet at the train station; the two of them bicker over lunch. Franny goes into the bathroom and sobs.
"Franny": Act II
Franny comes back to the table and eventually explains to Lane about the religious book she's been reading.
"Franny": Act III
Franny leaves the table again and collapses by the bar. The story ends with her mouthing the words to the Jesus Prayer.
"Zooey": Act I
Zooey and his mother converse twice, in the bathroom. She encourages him to talk to his sister.
"Zooey": Act II
Zooey and Franny debate in the living room; Franny ends up in tears.
"Zooey": Act III
Zooey makes a phone call to Franny pretending to be their brother Buddy. Franny's crisis is effectively over by the end of the chat.