Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Manhattan. Borough of New York City that seems to be a place where much is offered. In reality, however, this is not the case. Wintertime has traditionally reflected death, and in the Glass house it has been winter for seven years; Seymour’s death haunts the other characters, who have not yet recovered from his passing. J. D. Salinger knows Manhattan well, having lived there through most of his early publishing life. The fact that he does not go into detail about the city the way he does in Catcher in the Rye (1951) reflects his assertion in this novel that people are more important than places. Franny and Zooey, for the most part, could take place anywhere.

Glass living room

Glass living room. At once homey and forbidding, the Glass living room is a reflection of the Glasses themselves. The house sits a story higher than the school across from it, suggesting the Glasses’ superiority in things intellectual (all the Glass children have been on the quiz show “It’s a Wise Child”). All the furniture is marred in one way or another and does not match, just as Zooey and Franny do not match. Even though it is bright and sunny, the light brings out the worst in the living room (stains from pets, for example). As wonderful as it is outside, Franny and Zooey stay inside as if trying to keep the outside world from crashing in on them.

Glass bathroom


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Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Franny and Zooey serves as a fine example of Salinger's penchant for placing the importance of characterization before that of plot....

(The entire section is 150 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Discussion of Franny and Zooey will, by necessity, center on the Glass characters. Beginning with Franny, each Glass sibling should be...

(The entire section is 352 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The social concerns in Franny and Zooey might be posed in the form of a question that the novel asks, but never quite answers—can...

(The entire section is 465 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Salinger is clearly influence by "lost generation" novelists such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. As Fitzgerald's characters were accomplished in...

(The entire section is 136 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

A number of Salinger's works profile the Glass family. They include the 1953 collection of short stories, Nine Stories (1953), some of...

(The entire section is 130 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

French, Warren. J. D. Salinger. New York: Twayne, 1963. One of the few attempts critically to evaluate Salinger’s writing by focusing on its effects on young readers rather than on Salinger’s personal psychological and spiritual underpinnings. The result is an insightful explanation of the portrait of adolescence in Salinger’s work and why it has been so heartily embraced by American youth.

Laser, Marvin, and Norman Fruman. Studies in J. D. Salinger: Reviews, Essays, and Critiques of “The Catcher in the Rye” and Other Fiction. New York: Odyssey Press, 1963. A wonderful and diverse collection of analyses written at the time of Salinger’s publications by some of the most recognized contemporary critics.

Lundquist, James. J. D. Salinger. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1979. A so-called New Criticism analysis that conflates Salinger’s life with the lives of his characters and stories. The thorough chronology is very useful in this context.

Miller, James E., Jr. J. D. Salinger. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1965. Number 51 of a series of pamphlets written on American writers. A concise, succinct, and accessible synopsis of Salinger’s writing.

Ranchan, Som P. “Zooey and Franny” and “Bessie.” In An Adventure in Vedanta (J. D. Salinger’s The Glass Family). Delhi, India: Ajanta Publications, 1989. An interesting but very narrow reading of his works. Interprets both Salinger’s personal life and his stories in light of the Vedantic vision, which entails a spiritual quest for that universal truth said to be found in all religions.