I'm not going to lie. This picture that my friend Shannon posted on her blog along with the following quotes are what made me most intrigued to read Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger; that and my love of Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories.
"Just because i'm so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values, and just because i like applause and people to rave about me doesn't make it right. I'm ashamed of it. I'm sick of it."
"i'm sick of not having the courage to be absolutely nobody."
The novel is grouped into two sections, "Franny" being abour 45 pages and "Zooey" being 150. In the first novella, Franny is on the verge of an emotional breakdown of sorts. She has met her boyfriend Lane for a big Ivy League homecoming game. Lane is very into having the right girl at the right place and being perceived as very intelligent; he calculates his facial expressions to remain elusive. Franny is at a place where she realizes that she may share similar tendencies, but is cognizant enough to know she doesn't want them--but does not know how to communicate that to Lane or herself. It is difficult to watch her continually apologize for herself while simultaneously exhibit physical symptoms of her inner state.
"Zooey" picks up with Franny at her parents' home, and is mostly a conversation between Zooey, her brother, her mother and herself. It continues with a dialogue between the different family members about Franny's state of mind and what to do with her.
Franny's struggle is not unique, though. She has grown up with expectations placed upon her and a certain understanding of what she would do with her life. All of a sudden she has realized that she doesn't necessarily have to do those things or be dictated by them. Such a realization can be life changing or life shattering; both incredibly freeing and confusing. I just think that most people choose the safety of what they know rather than rebuilding a new world view...hence the quotes mentioned above. Her actions is both stories beautifully typify the physical manifestations of this inner tension, and Salinger has really done a brilliant job.