This reader’s guide was contributed by Leslie Gleue. Thanks, Leslie!
First published in The New Yorker on January 29, 1955 – pages 24-32, 35-43. Later published in the same book as “Zooey” in a volume called Franny and Zooey, which was published by Little, Brown in the Fall of 1961.
Franny Glass – a young college student traveling to visit her boyfriend for “the Yale game.” Franny is the youngest of the Glass family’s children.
Lane Coutell – Franny’s boyfriend
Franny travels by train to meet her boyfriend, Lane, for a fun weekend of football and friends. Things seem off when they meet at the platform, and they decide to go to a restaurant that is popular with the intellectual crowd. Franny is nervous and out of sorts, chain-smoking and barely eating. Lane tries to have a “normal” conversation with her, but she is distracted. Lane gets insulted at several different points of the conversation. She excuses herself to go the restroom, and comes back feeling better. She finally tells him about a book she’s carrying with her, called “The Way of the Pilgrim.” It’s about a man who travels travels to master the art of continuous prayer through something called the Jesus Prayer. To do this, one repeats “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner” over and over until it becomes a part of their very breath and heartbeat. This appeals to Franny, because it represents purification. Lane is bored by this and discounts the idea. Franny gets up to go to the bathroom again, and faints. When she comes to, Lane suggests that she get some rest. She stares at the ceiling, silently repeating the Jesus Prayer.
Reader’s Guide kindly contributed by Kathy Gabriel. Thanks, Kathy!
Published in the The New Yorker, June 19, 1965, pages 32-113
Buddy Glass, age 46 transcribes a letter written by his older brother Seymour at the age of seven, when both boys were attending summer camp at Camp Simon Hapworth. Seymour provides an emotional account of their time at Camp Hapworth interspersed with condescending advice to his family and rants on religion and literature in nearly 30,000 words. It was Salinger’s first and only published work after “Seymour: An Introduction.”
Malcolm, Janet. “Justice to J.D. Salinger.” The New York Review of Books 21 June 2001. Web. 25 Nov. 2010.
“When J.D. Salinger’s “Hapworth 16, 1924”—a very long and very strange story in the form of a letter from camp written by Seymour Glass when he was seven—appeared in The New Yorker in June 1965, it was greeted with unhappy, even embarrassed silence. It seemed to confirm the growing critical consensus that Salinger was going to hell in a handbasket. By the late Fifties, when the stories “Franny” and “Zooey” and “Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters” were coming out in the magazine, Salinger was no longer the universally beloved author of The Catcher in the Rye; he was now the seriously annoying creator of the Glass family.”