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Salinger's Franny and Zoey Essay

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Salinger's Franny and Zoey


It is the consensus of most critics that Seymour Glass is the most important character and the leader of the Glass family. This is a point that is obvious from the stories that Salinger has written about the Glass family. Seymour is looked up to and revered by all the children in the family and is his mothers “favorite, most intricately calibrated, her kindest son”(Franny 89). When catastrophe strikes in Franny and Zooey, the only person Franny wants to talk to is Seymour. Why is Seymour the most important person in the Glass family?

Seymour is the eldest child. Therefore, all will come after him. In a sense, nothing new can be done after Seymour has done it. All that is left is to imitate and learn from the child genius. This is what all the Glass children seem to do. In Franny and Zooey, we learn that Seymour and Buddy educated all of the children. Together, the eldest boys of the Glass family taught their siblings literature, philosophy, and religion.

Seymour was also looked up to and relied upon by the children of his family. In Seymour: an Introduction, we learn that Seymour and Buddy were both active in taking care of their younger siblings but there was a slight difference in the reactions of the children to each of them. Buddy says:

When Seymour told one of the twins …to take off his or her rubbers on coming into
the apartment, each and all of them knew he mostly mean that the floor would get
tracked up if they didn’t and that Bessie would have to get out the mop. When I told
them to take off their rubbers, they knew I mostly meant that people who didn’t were
slobs. (193-194)

This is an important difference because it shows how bo...


... middle of paper ...


... learn from. He exists to teach us a lesson. This is why he is the family storyteller. He is our teacher, our example, and our leader. What is the lesson we are to learn from him? Maybe only Salinger knows that for certain but I believe Salinger would have us each search out our own “pieces of holy ground”. He would have us all find our one true thing we are to do, even if it is only to go to teach in a small classroom with less than average writers, as is Buddy’s holy ground, or to live alone and write for only yourself, as is Salinger’s holy ground. He would have us all admit to ourselves what it is we are supposed to do and go out and do it instead of forever complaining and searching for better. Through Buddy, Salinger is trying to give us his version of the meaning of life. The ultimate message: Find your holy ground, there lies happiness and truth.


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