Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Frances (Franny) Glass
Frances (Franny) Glass, the youngest of the seven extraordinary Glass children and focus of the “Franny” section of the book. She is a bright twenty-one-year-old college student and gifted actress who is in painful conflict with herself and the world. She is uneasy with the superficiality of her surroundings and their clash of egos. Her profound wish is for a spiritual dimension that would give her life a substance beyond all the posturing, grasping, and self-absorption that threatens to engulf her. Repressing her own feelings, she observes and feels guilty about her own disingenuousness. She is disgusted by her culture’s artistic, educational, and religious forms of pretentiousness. In contrast to her pedantic boyfriend, she sees her deceased brother Seymour as the apotheosis of the pure poet. While having lunch at a fashionable restaurant with her boyfriend, she breaks out in a cold sweat and faints in the restroom. She feels that she is losing her mind and experiences an acute spiritual and psychological crisis. As a young woman who espouses self-effacement, she fears that as an aspiring actress she may be heading down the path of narcissism. A breakdown follows, and she quits the theater. She recuperates at her family’s apartment in Manhattan with the help of her brother Zooey.
Lane Coutell, an Ivy League undergraduate and Franny Glass’s boyfriend. He is shallow, pretentious, intellectually pedantic, and arrogant. He views Franny as an attractive object that enhances his own ego. Zooey Glass refers to Lane as a “big nothing.” He is too self-absorbed to take note of Franny’s impending breakdown.
Zachary Martin “Zooey” Glass
Zachary Martin “Zooey” Glass, the youngest Glass son, a handsome and successful television actor. His honesty,...
(The entire section is 767 words.)
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