Franny and Zooey

The Urge to Conform and the Difficulty of Respect in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey 11th Grade

In his novel Franny and Zooey, Salinger effectively portrays the troubled lifestyles of the Glass family, particularly those of Franny and Zooey, the two youngest Glass children. These two characters were raised with an education that promoted religious knowledge and awareness while being featured on a radio show by the name of “It’s a Wise Child”. While participating on the panel of this show, their older brother Seymour advises them to always be the best version of themselves for the “Fat Lady” (Salinger 201): an unnamed and unidentified woman that existed in the minds of the Glass family. This woman represents all of humanity and its traits, actions, and beliefs for Franny and Zooey. The symbol of the fat lady, while promoting equal respect for all humans, represents a lifestyle that is difficult to follow because of humanity’s natural inclination to conform, their inbred competition, and the ultimate indifference of the universe towards them. It is evident from a look at the people who live in our society that there is an omnipresent sense of conformity: the ceaseless desire to reach the standards and goals as defined by the most popular people in society.

Franny herself feels this strong urge to conform to what society...

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