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Franny's Behavioural Change In Salinger's Franny And Zooey

1564 words - 7 pages

Jerome David Salinger’s Franny and Zooey is about a twenty-year-old college student Franny, who is seeking spirituality in her life. She is a member of the intelligent Glass family, whose children struggle with conforming to society after appearing on the television quiz show called It’s a Wise Child. Salinger’s novel is composed of two sections. The first section, Franny, deals with Franny explaining to her boyfriend her distaste of the college environment. The second section, Zooey, is the continuation of Franny where Franny discusses with her brother Zooey about feeling isolated from the people around her and finding spirituality in her life. In Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, the main character, Franny, undergoes a change in perspective as she tries to cope with the dissatisfaction of the world through spiritual beliefs. In the beginning, Franny is experiencing a deterioration in mental health due to her severe criticism of her college experience; she mindlessly turns to prayer in an attempt to resolve her difficulties, but her problems grow worse due to her lack of understanding of religion. Eventually, she comes to an understanding of the world as realizes the genuine meaning of her spiritual beliefs through listening to Zooey’s consoling advice.
In the first section, Franny is having a nervous breakdown as she expresses her misgivings towards college. At a restaurant with her boyfriend, she criticises her professors for letting section men, who are graduate students with “little button-down-collar shirt[s] and striped tie[s],” take over their classes when they are away (Salinger 14-15). She insists that the section men are “running around ruining things for people” by being conceited and not teaching literature properly (Salinger 15). This results in her wanting to drop English and even to say that if she “had any guts at all” she “wouldn’t have gone back to college” because of her malcontent toward her teachers and students (Salinger 17). She reinforces the effect of college on her mentality by sporadically apologizing to her boyfriend for her outbursts: “I’m sorry” (Salinger 17). Her constant apologetic remarks reveal her insecurity towards others, which results in her becoming increasingly isolated. She further demonstrates her mental breakdown through her sudden excursion to the lavatory where she “broke down” and “cried for fully five minutes” (Salinger 22). Her inability to contain her emotions, due to her continuous sobbing on a presumably pleasant date shows that she is in a distressed state. Her overwhelming emotions also emphasizes how college has increased her anxiety. In addition, she describes everyone to be akin to “Wally Campbell” who mindlessly conforms to society and whose actions are “so tiny and meaningless and – sad-making” (Salinger 26). This continues her stressful rant on the similarity of everyone around her. She develops her pessimistic view on the students, in which she rejects due to her inability to...

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