Based on J. D. Salinger's novel Franny and Zooey, how can faith be described in terms of a journey?  1. A journey that seeks faith Phenomenology of Faith (what seeking tells us about faith) a....

Based on J. D. Salinger's novel Franny and Zooey, how can faith be described in terms of a journey? 

1. A journey that seeks faith

Phenomenology of Faith (what seeking tells us about faith)

a. entails basic truth (ultimate concern)

b. beliefs ( propositional statements of our ultimate concern)

c. loyalties ( actions)

d. unity ( whatever the ultimate concern is it ties into the different aspects of life)

2. Openness: Faith is essential to experience all that is possible; faith as openness is required.

3. Risk

4. control or not in our control

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, the protagonist Franny ventures on a clear metaphorical spiritual journey to find herself. Part of who she is is an actress, yet we learn in the beginning of the book that she has given up participating in theater at school because she is sick and tired of humanity's arrogance, the same arrogance her date Lane displays, the same arrogance she feels all actors must display. Yet, when Franny pulls out the book The Way of The Pilgrim, we also figure out that Franny has quit theater because she feels spiritually conflicted, and she is seeking a way out of that conflict.

The little green book Franny pulls out, The Way of the Pilgrim, is possibly a spoof on a book of unknown authorship tilted The Way of A Pilgrim, written in Russia in the 19th century. It recounts a pilgrim's journey, all the while repeating what's called the Jesus Prayer, the words of which are, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner," the a version of which Franny is later seen reciting while reclining on the couch after her breakdown ("The Way of a Pilgrim"; "Jesus Prayer").  Since she pulls out the book, we know that she feels pulled to follow Jesus Christ yet feels torn because she does not see how her devotion to acting can also be aligned with following Christ since acting can be such a shallow, arrogant, self-serving career. Hence, she is spiritually torn between her love for religion and Christ and her love for acting. We can also call this a conflict of loyalties--loyalty to religion vs. loyalty to personal talents and desires.

It is Franny's older brother Zooey who helps in her journey to seek both faith and her own identity. Their brother Seymour had committed suicide earlier, and Zooey actually finds solace in advice Seymour used to give. Seymour used a metaphor of a fat lady to represent every ordinary person needing entertainment to encourage both Zooey and Franny to perform their best. Franny even remembers Seymour saying to her, "be funny for the Fat Lady" (as cited in "Summary," Masterpieces of American Literature). Zooey now draws a connection between Seymour's "Fat Lady" metaphor and Jesus Christ to let Franny know she can perform for both:

I'll tell you a terrible secret--are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady .. And don't you know--listen to me, now--don't you know who the Fat Lady is? ... It's Christ himself. Christ himself, buddy. (as cited in "Summary")

As a result of Zooey's speech, Franny finds inner peace she had sought through her little green pilgrim book because her spiritual journey has now led to her to realize she can follow both Christ and her own calling as an actress.

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