Publisher: Penguin Books
Isbn-10: 0140237526 | Isbn-13: 9780140237528 | Publish date: 01/10/1998
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This novel is pervaded by a spiritual and mystic atmosphere, even if it is written in a different way from the doctrinal one.
Salinger writes poetry without using rhymes.
The novel was published in 1961: Less and Bessie Glass, international and music artists, have seven children, the two youngest are Franny and Zooey, the main characters of the novel.
It happened Zooey had made a formal and serious debut as a public performer at the age of seven. He was the second youngest of what had originally been seven brothers and sisters—five boys and two girls—all of whom, at rather conveniently spaced intervals during childhood, had been heard regularly on a network radio program, a children's quiz show called"It's a Wise Child.", that was considered unique in commercial radio and that lasted just over sixteen years: from 1927 well into 1943.
Seymour had his Ph.D. at an age when most young Americans are just getting out of high school. At the age of six, Seymour, the eldest and the cleverest, but also the most problematic son, could read the great writers of literature, he could speak some classic and modern languages and he was learning some others.
He was starting his religious path following the Eastern mysticism.
Seymour and his brother Buddy, the second child, were a sort of spiritual guide for the rest of the family and when Seymour killed himself in 1948, his death represented a frightening wound never sutured for them.
Above all for his sister Franny, a girl of twenty years old who, apart from his complicated relationship with her boyfriend Lane, lives a mystic crisis.
Her crisis is caused by the reading of a book called 'The Way of a Pilgrim' written by a Russian peasant.
The pilgrim wants to find out what it means in the Bible when it says you should pray incessantly.
So he starts out walking all over Russia.
He meets a person called a starets—some sort of terribly advanced religious person— who tells him about the Jesus Prayer first of all. 'Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.'. And he explains to him that those are the best words to use when you pray. Especially the word 'mercy,' because it's such a really enormous word and can mean so many things.
This reading deeply involved Franny who starts her silent prayer in her family home, far from the college she attends.
At her home, she feels Seymour's presence and her mystic anxiety increases till the point she refuses food.
She is sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody, all she knows is she's losing her mind. She is sick of ego, ego, ego.
She is just her own and everybody else's.
She is sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting.
She doesn't care what anybody says
That's why she quits the Theatre Department. Just because she is so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values, and just because she likes applause and people to rave about her, doesn't make it right. She is ashamed of it. She is sick of it. She is afraid to compete—that's what scares her.
She tells all her feelings to his brother Zooey, who tries to help her to desist.
He explains that if she is going to say the Jesus Prayer, she has to keep Him in mind and Him only, and Him as He was and not as she'd like Him to have been. She doesn't face any facts. This same damned attitude of not facing facts is what got her into that messy state of mind in the first place, and it can't possibly get her out of it.
Jesus is the only the most intelligent man in the Bible, Zooey says.
When she doesn't see Jesus for exactly what He was, she misses the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. If she doesn't understand Jesus, she can't understand His prayer—she doesn't get the prayer at all, she just get some kind of organized cant. Jesus was a supreme adept, by God, on a terribly important mission. And when she misses seeing that, she is missing the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer has one aim, and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness.
And moreover, she forgets one thing: when she first felt the urge, the call, to say the prayer, she didn't immediately start searching the four corners of the world for a master. She came home.
Even if she went out and searched the whole world for a master —some guru, some holy man—to tell her how to say your Jesus Prayer properly, what good would it do her?
She can say the Jesus Prayer from now till doomsday, but if she doesn't realize that the only thing that counts in the religious life is detachment. Detachment and only detachment. Cessation from all hankerings.
The only religious thing she can do, is act. Act for God, if she wants to— be God's actress, if she wants to.
Zooey remembers about the fifth time he ever went on 'Wise Child.' Seymour'd told him to shine my shoes just as he was going out the door with Waker. He was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and he just damn well wasn't going to shine his shoes for them, he told Seymour. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so he did it. He never did tell him who the Fat Lady was, but he shined his shoes for the Fat Lady every time he ever went on the air again.
This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in his mind.
It seemed god dam clear why Seymour wanted him to shine my shoes when he went on the air. It made sense.
Franny said Seymour told her, too; he told her to be funny for the Fat Lady, once.
But Zooey reveals her a terrible secret: there isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady.
And then he asks Franny: don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? ... It's Christ Himself.
She appeared to find it extraordinarily beautiful to listen to, she seemed to know, too, when to stop listening to it, as if all of what little or much wisdom there is in the world were suddenly hers. She got into the bed. For some minutes, before she fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, she just lay quiet, smiling at the ceiling.
Cri1967 said on Apr 01, 2015, 15:59
Malitia said on Mar 21, 2015, 14:05
Dimitja said on Mar 10, 2015, 21:55
Nannerl said on Mar 09, 2015, 08:50
Salinger ha l'incredibile (e a tratti fastidiosa) capacità di lasciarti avvicinare ad una Risposta, di fartela quasi toccare e poi di portartela via di colpo, abbandonandoti lì confuso e con la vaga sensazione che un po' sia colpa tua, per il semplice motivo di non essere nato nella famiglia Glass.
I tre dialoghi che caratterizzano la struttura dei racconti sono avvincenti, appassionanti e meravigliosamente inconcludenti: sì, vogliono dire qualcosa di importante, e sì, te la devi vedere tu per capire cosa perché l'autore non ha nessuna intenzione di aiutarti.
Un esempio chiaro è il dialogo tra Franny e Zooey, a mio parere non il più riuscito (questa medaglia spetta a quello tra Zooey e Bessie) ma il più denso di significato: sei lì lì per capire, per afferrare, per illuminarti, ma poi Zooey si sdraia sul pavimento e quella scintilla svanisce, e spetta a te, lettore, a lettura finita, ritrovarla.
valeriavì said on Oct 12, 2014, 10:31
Perché poi, diciamocelo, non è che il tutto sia davvero comprensibile: le conversazioni, i riferimenti, i modi di fare e i piccoli segreti dei protagonisti di Franny and Zooey sono riassumibili in “fastidiosi” comportamenti che lasciano il lettore vagamente perso nel nulla, come quando dai un calcio a un sassolino e questo cade in un burrone e tu dall’alto lo guardi e cerchi di capire dove sia finito pensando comunque che tra tutte quelle foglie cadute al suolo sarà impossibile ritrovarlo.
nellie. said on Sep 16, 2014, 15:25
Libro che si sviluppa in tre lunghi dialoghi, è probabilmente l'opera meno riuscita di Salinger. Apprezzo il tema spirituale (e le ultime due pagine, semplici ma preziose), ma l'ho trovato noioso e verboso. "Il Giovane Holden" è un capolavoro (specialmente per la carica innovatrice) ma Salinger temo sia un autore decisamente sopravvalutato.
frandam said on Sep 15, 2014, 13:36
Lettura molto piacevole quella di questo breve romanzo. E' diviso in due capitoli, ma preferisco scinderlo in tre dialoghi: quello tra Franny e Lane, quello tra Zooey e la madre, quello tra Franny e Zooey. Il primo è quello che amo di più, vivace e frizzante. Il secondo è quello che più mi ha colpito, tutto ambientato nella ristrettezza di un piccolo bagno. Il terzo è quello che rileggerei per complessità e profondità.
Riporto una chicca: “Non dirmi che Mosè lo sapeva. Era un brav'uomo, era sempre in contatto col suo Dio e via di seguito: ma è proprio qui il punto. Lui doveva tenersi in contatto. Gesù invece capì che non c'era separazione da Dio.”
Alto il numero di sigarette e sigari accesi in questo libro, alto anche quello di sigarette e sigari consumati senza essere fumati con i loro aspiranti fumatori persi dietro a pensieri e parole capaci di conquistare il lettore e inchiodarlo alla poltrona. Il modo in cui scrive Salinger merita da solo la lettura.
Simone Del Mondo said on Aug 06, 2014, 14:29
Elfo said on Jul 30, 2014, 22:10
Wisla said on Jul 18, 2014, 09:59