Franny and Zooey : Top Ten Quotes

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  1. “. . . He tried to empty his face of all expression that might quite simply, perhaps even beautifully, reveal how he felt about the arriving person”  (p. 7).

    Lane Coutell is meeting Franny’s train and tries not to show how glad he is to see her, to remain “cool.” This is an example of the loss of innocence adolescents experience as they reach adulthood where they are expected to wear masks.
  2. “You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge” (p. 146).

    Franny explains to Zooey why she quit college and took up the Jesus prayer. She feels intellectual knowledge by itself is a waste of time.
  3. “It was as though, after being in makeshift wet dock for days, the Queen Mary had just sailed out of, say, Walden Pond, as suddenly and perversely as she had sailed in” (p.90).

    Zooey’s mother, Bessie, comes into the bathroom to talk to Zooey about his sister, Franny, while he is in the tub. Finally, she leaves as suddenly as she came, and Zooey can feel her presence leave the room. Though he teases her sarcastically, he has a great respect for his mother’s spirit, as do all the children, because she can see through all of them.
  4. “Yes, I have an ulcer, for Chrissake. This is Kaliyuga, buddy, the Iron Age. Anybody over sixteen without an ulcer’s a goddam spy” (140-141).

    Zooey admits to Franny that he has an ulcer and gives as the reason the fact that they live in the worst cycle of time the world goes through according to Hindu belief—Kaliyuga—the time of Kali, goddess of death and time, when truth is covered up and lies and treachery prevail.
  5. “I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting” (p. 29).

    Franny is upset by the ambition and outward motivation of the other young people around her as they rush to embrace the values of the world to achieve success. They are driven by ego, or narrow self-interest, rather than something deeper and nobler, from within.
  6. “You get to see God. Something happens in some absolutely nonphysical part of the heart—where the Hindus say that Atman resides, if you ever took any Religion—and you see God, that’s all” (p.39).

    Franny tells Lane what happens when you say the Jesus prayer over and over without stopping. He has been telling her that the prayer could cause psychological harm.
  7. “I say that my current offering isn’t a mystical story, or a religiously mystifying story, at all. I say it’s a compound, or multiple, love story, pure and complicated (p. 49).

    Buddy Glass, as the fictional author of “Zooey,” introduces the story and denies it is a story about mysticism. It is a multiple love story between his family members, his mother, Franny and Zooey, and the dead Seymour. He also implies that the larger story of life itself is a complicated and multiple love story.
  8. “The anguish of separation was scarcely bearable for [the young dog], and when at last he picked up his mistresses scent, it wasn’t a second too soon. The joy of reunion for both, was immense” (p. 151).

    Zooey watches a young dachshund get separated from a little girl and then reunited with her. Their mutual ecstasy transports him with faith in love and life. The scene mirrors Franny’s anguish and then later revelation of truth.
  9. “Dr. Suzuki says somewhere that to be in a state of pure consciousness—satori—is to be with God before he said, Let there be light” (p. 65).

    Buddy quotes Dr. Suzuki, a Zen Buddhist scholar, whom Salinger had met. Suzuki describes the state one reaches in meditation--satori, or pure consciousness, a state of “no-knowledge” as a necessary prelude to gaining outer knowledge of the world.
  10. “It happens to be one of those days when I see everybody in the family, including myself, through the wrong end of a telescope” (p. 58).

    Buddy tells this to Zooey in a letter advising him to go with his heart and embrace an acting career. Buddy is the family chronicler, who is usually seeing close-ups of the family, but in this letter, he is seeing things from a distance. From this view, he knows Zooey should stay away from pursuing a Ph.D.

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