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

1639 words - 7 pages

J. D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey is about a twenty-year-old college student named 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 for the college environment. In the second section, Zooey, 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 protagonist, Franny, undergoes ...view middle of the document...

Reinforcing the effects of college on her mentality, she sporadically apologizes to her boyfriend for her outbursts: “I’m sorry” (Salinger 17). Her apologetic remarks reveal her insecurity towards others, which results in her becoming increasingly isolated. Her isolation makes her want to “just disappear,” because she fears that she will “just ruin the whole weekend” due to her complaints about all her problems (Salinger 18). Her mental breakdown is also demonstrated through her sudden excursion to the lavatory, where she “broke down” and “cried for fully five minutes” (Salinger 22). Her prolonged sobbing on a pleasant date shows that she is in a distressed state and unable to contain her emotions. Her overwhelming emotions also emphasize 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). Her judgemental rant about the similarity of everyone around her, and her own feeling that she is somehow different, develops her pessimistic view of her fellow college students. She shows her rejection to conformity by revealing her inability to understand how everyone is able to blindly follow the norms of society. Unable to cope the reality of her situation, she begins to turn to religion for comfort. She becomes dedicated to a spiritual book called The Way of the Pilgrim about a Russian peasant whose goal is to discover “how to pray incessantly” (Salinger 33). She regards this book highly and reads it to try to keep her sanity, but her attempts to restore herself is unsuccessful as she abruptly collapses at the restaurant. The mental deterioration she experiences as a result of the adversity she faces in college, leads Franny to a state of mental distress.
After collapsing at the restaurant, Franny is back at home, where her mental deterioration continues. Her mother is worried about her health as she has “eaten practically nothing since she got home Saturday night” (Salinger 85). As she becomes increasingly isolated from everyone in the family, her mother fears for Franny’s well-being. Worrying about Franny’s deteriorating health, she insists that Zooey help Franny overcome her emotional issues. In an attempt to relieve her issues, Zooey tries to talk to Franny but is initially unsuccessful. Persisting on her journey to find “enlightenment, or peace” (Salinger 149) through her spiritual practice of the Jesus Prayer, which she describes as a way “to get to see God,” Franny disregards Zooey’s comments (Salinger 39). She expects something greater from her world than she is currently receiving and she uses the constant repetition of the prayer to try to help her mind regain balance, rather than listening to Zooey’s ideas. Consequently, this triggers more difficulties as she is now “losing weight like mad, worrying Bessie and Les absolutely silly, upsetting the house, and everything”...

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