Study Guide

Franny and Zooey Love

By J.D. Salinger


The letter was written – typewritten – on pale-blue notepaper. It had a handled, unfresh look, as if it had been taken out of its envelope and read several times before: (Franny.1.3)

Lane obviously cares for Franny, as we see by the number of times that he's read and re-read her letter, yet he doesn't reveal this to her.

All my love,
XXXXXXXX (Franny.1.4)

Franny lacks all the reticence that characterizes Lane.

"I've just felt so destructive all week. It's awful, I'm horrible."

"Your letter didn't sound so goddam destructive."

Franny nodded solemnly. She was looking at a little warm blotch of sunshine, about the size of a poker chip, on the tablecloth. "I had to strain to write it," she said.

Lane started to say something to that, but the waiter was suddenly there to take away the empty Martini glasses. "You want another one?" Lane asked Franny. (Franny.2.25-8)

Franny has just delivered a dagger of a confession to Lane – that it took effort on her part to sound loving in her letter – and all he does is focus on something material.

"You want to use this a second?" Lane said abruptly. He was holding out a folded, white handkerchief. His voice sounded sympathetic, kind, in spite of some perverse attempt to make it sound matter-of-fact. (Franny.3.41)

We can see the author's judgment of Lane in the use of the word "perverse."

"He meets this one married couple, on one of his journeys, that I love more than anybody I ever read about in my entire life," Franny said. (Franny.4.13)

Though she tries to play the book off as unimportant at first, Franny can't help but reveal how much it means to her.

"You might like this book," she said suddenly. "It's so simple, I mean." (Franny.4.15)

Franny makes herself so vulnerable here; she's really being honest with Lane for the first time.

I know the difference between a mystical story and a love story. I say that my current offering isn't a mystical story, or a religiously mystifying story, at all. I say it's a compound, or multiple, love story, pure and complicated. (Zooey.1.2)

What are the compound or multiple loves to which Buddy refers here?

"I like to ride in trains too much. You never get to sit next to the window any more when you're married." (Zooey.5.61)

There's an innocence to Zooey's character that keeps him wholly human, despite his genius intelligence and off-putting, cynical judgments.