Study Guide

Franny and Zooey Setting

By J.D. Salinger


Sickler's French Restaurant, near an unnamed College campus; a Manhattan Apartment

The setting of "Franny" contrasts well with the setting of "Zooey." In the first part of this novel, you've got an antisocial college girl who hates pretension…in a pretentious French restaurant trapped at a table with a boy who epitomizes everything she hates about higher education. Franny is stuck in an uncomfortable environment, and she just doesn't fit in: she orders the "wrong" food; her religious book has no place here, and neither does she. By contrast, in "Zooey," Franny has come home to the place where she belongs and to the people who are like her. This is where she chooses, as Zooey points out, to have her breakdown, and this is where she resolves her crisis.

We can also consider how confining both of the small-scale settings are for the novel's main characters. Franny is essentially trapped at a small table for two with Lane. There may be a larger room around them, but we don't really hear about it – the setting is the small table, rather than the restaurant (excluding Franny's sob-trip to the bathroom). Likewise, Zooey is stuck in the bathtub while his mother holds down the fort just outside the curtain – another small space, another case of being trapped. Both Franny and Zooey end up feeling isolated from and acting hostile toward the "outsider" with whom they converse. Taken together, the similarly confining settings represent yet another example of the parallel form of these two stories.

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