Franny and Zooey, originally published in New Yorker magazine as two distinct short stories, consists of two more or less loosely connected stories concerning the spiritual unraveling and emotional upheavals of college student Franny Glass in 50s New York. Both stories are part of an ever growing non-linear saga about the quirky, artistic, and manical Glass family whom discerning readers may recall meeting in A Perfect Day for Bananafish (1948), Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenters (1955), and finally in Seymour: An Introduction (1959). In Franny, Franny Glass is on her way to meet her preppy Princeton boyfriend, Lane Coutell, for a week-end of football matches and other frivolities. During dinner, Franny's snappy banter turns to an overwrought meltdown which would be a precursor to her all-encompassing spiritual crisis that gradually unfolds in Zooey.
In Franny and Zooey, Salinger's introspective protagonist embarks on a journey of self-discovery that marries religious fervour and social antipathy in equal measure. Despite popular opinion, the author's masterpiece A Catcher in the Rye and this title were not nor are they meant to be interpreted interchangeably. Unlike the former masterpiece, the characters that inhabit the self-titled Franny and Zooey are prone to existential crisis of a more personal nature. Whereas Holden Caulfield has a corrosive chip on his shoulder, Franny Glass' inner conflict is of a more metaphysical nature despite her dissatisfaction with the art of being genuine as explored in her drama classes and plays.
Interestingly enough, my reading material has recently consisted of spiritual guides that have for the most part served to alleviate the discontent that I have been feeling lately. However, I was almost disheartened to discover (via Google) Salinger's allegedly fanatical indoctrination of Eastern religions which may have heavily influenced his family life and hermit behaviour. Oddly, I was disconcerted because idle suppositions about the legendary writer's spiritual beliefs and behaviour may have superseded or influenced my unbiased view and analysis of Franny's own exploration of her self.