Salinger's known interest in eastern religious philosophy such as Zen Buddhism and Hindu Advaita Vedanta are evident throughout the book, particularly in a brief section in the second part that includes quotations from spiritual texts. There is also a discussion of whether the book is a "mystical story" or a "love story" in the introduction to the second section, as speculated by the book's narrator, Buddy Glass (who decides it's the latter). Gerald Rosen, in his short 1977 book Zen in the Art of J. D. Salinger, observes that Franny and Zooey could be interpreted as a modern Zen tale, with the main character Franny progressing over the course of the short story and novella from a state of ignorance to the deep wisdom of enlightenment. Jennifer Dunn, in an essay, mentioned that the “disparity between bright busy surfaces and inner emptiness” found in Franny and Zooey can be read as a metaphor for modern society. Carl Bode, in a Wisconsin University journal, suggested that Salinger, while writing in Franny and Zooey that “the phoney and the genuine equally deserve our love”, found this as an answer to some of his own emotional problems.
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