Study Guide

Franny and Zooey Exploration

By J.D. Salinger

Exploration

"Oh, it's lovely to see you!" Franny said as the cab moved off. "I've missed you." The words were no sooner out than she realized that she didn't mean them at all. Again with guilt, she took Lane's hand and tightly, warmly laced fingers with him. (Franny.1.6)

Franny is learning and changing throughout this story; she discovers her feelings about Lane as the plot progresses.

She found herself looking at Lane as if he were a stranger, or a poster advertising a brand of linoleum, across the aisle of a subway car. Again she felt the trickle of disloyalty and guilt, which seemed to be the order of the day, and reacted to it by reaching over to cover Lane's hand with her own. She withdrew her hand almost immediately and used it to pick her cigarette out of the ashtray. (Franny.2.34)

Franny finds herself torn between resenting Lane and feeling guilty for not loving him. These conflicting emotions make up the emotional tension of "Franny."

She stopped, self-consciously, and put out her cigarette. For several minutes now, she had seemed to be losing color in her face. Suddenly, even her lipstick seemed a shade or two lighter, as though she had just blotted it with a leaf of Kleenex. (Franny.2.44)

Franny physically changes through the course of this story, a change that parallels her emotional journey.

Lane looked at her, then exhaled a thin, overly expressive stream of smoke down at his plate. "This is going to be a real little doll of a weekend," he said. "A chicken sandwich, for God's sake." (Franny.3.9)

Franny has stopped playing the part of the right girl in the right place, which greatly bothers Lane.

"I just quit, that's all," Franny said. "It started embarrassing me. I began to feel like such a nasty little egomaniac." She reflected. "I don't know. It seemed like such poor taste, sort of, to want to act in the first place. I mean all the ego. And I used to hate myself so, when I was in a play, to be backstage after the play was over. All those egos running around feeling terribly charitable and warm. Kissing everybody and wearing their makeup all over the place, and then trying to be horribly natural and friendly when your friends came backstage to see you. I just hated myself. . . . And the worst part was I was usually sort of ashamed to be in the plays I was in. Especially in summer stock." She looked at Lane. "And I had good parts, so don't look at me that way. It wasn't that. It was just that I would've been ashamed if, say, anybody I respected – my brothers, for example – came and heard me deliver some of the lines I had to say. I used to write certain people and tell them not to come." (Franny.3.30)

Franny very recently quit the theater – it's clear that this story takes place as major changes are going down in Franny's life.

Lane sat rather slouched in his chair, smoking, his eyes narrowed attentively at Franny's face. Her face was still pale, but it had been paler at other moments since the two had been in Sickler's. (Franny.4.21)

Franny's face is less pale now that she is talking about the book – this is something that actually excites her, even seems to bring her to life.

"I mean the point is did you ever hear anything so fascinating in your life, in a way? I mean it's so hard to just say it's absolute coincidence and then just let it go at that – that's what's so fascinating to me." (Franny.4.27)

This is the first thing that Franny has been really genuinely excited about, rather than cynical towards, since she met Lane at the train station.

For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands. (Zooey.8.78)

Zooey has acted as a sort of guide for Franny throughout this story; he is responsible for her reaction here.