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J. D. Salinger Essay

833 words - 4 pages

J. D. Salinger

Biographer Ian Hamilton notes that J. D. Salinger has been notoriously "famous for not wanting to be famous" (4). Born in New York in 1919 and still living today, Salinger leads a rather reclusive lifestyle, choosing to avoid the general attentions of the press, and thus making his life a difficult subject for study. His work, however, has been cherished and studied for many years. He has published many works of fiction both in book form and in magazines such as the New Yorker and Esquire. One of his most intriguing novels is Franny and Zooey, which is actually composed of two short stories bearing those names. It is one of several of Salinger's works involving the Glass ...view middle of the document...

'This is going to be a real little doll of a weekend,' he said" (24). Eventually, out of mental exhaustion, Franny passes out in the restaurant,

"Zooey" picks up where "Franny" leaves off; she has been sick as a result of her increasing self-neglect. The reader meets Zooey, who spends the greater part of the story discussing with Franny her condition. Franny reveals the main point of The Way of a Pilgrim, which is to repeat the Jesus Prayer incessantly until it becomes as natural and constant a bodily process as breathing. As Zooey tells her, however:

"There are nice things in the world-- and I mean nice things. We're all such morons to get so sidetracked. Always, always, always referring every goddam [sic] thing that happens right back to our lousy little egos." (152)

He accuses her of not realizing why she is really praying, or to whom, because she doesn't know Jesus any better than any other philosophical figure and is just using the prayer as a religious crutch to support herself. He continues to say that Franny can "roll Jesus and St. Francis and Seymour and Heidi's grandfather all in one," but that it's a sloppy way of seeking enlightenment (166). Later, because she is so incensed by his accusations, Zooey makes a phone call to Franny, imitating the voice of their brother Buddy. As "Buddy," Zooey hears out Franny's side of their...

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