Franny and Zooey and the Razor

Topics: Meaning of life, Jesus Prayer, Franny and Zooey Pages: 10 (3897 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Franny And Zooey & The Razor’s Edge

Many novels use religion as the central object of their plot. Franny and Zooey, by J.D Salinger and The Razor’s Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham both display religion as having they key role in their novels. Religion is the main guide in Franny and Zooey and The Razor’s Edge for the search of meaning. During the search for meaning the two main characters Franny Glass and Larry Darrel, use religion as an escape from everyday life and from bad memories. Secondly, these two characters put important factors of their lives on hold, which leads their loved ones to disagree with their search for meaning. Nevertheless, both characters benefit from their religious experiences.

Both Franny Glass of Franny and Zooey and Larry Darrel of The Razor’s Edge turn to religion as an escape rout from their everyday lives and disturbing memories. They have become annoyed and dissatisfied with their ordinary lives and the individual values and goals in their everyday lives. While Franny was dining with her boyfriend, Lane, she describes the atmosphere around her and how she feels about the theatre department and how sick she is of everyone close to her. “I’m not afraid to compete. It’s just the opposite. Don’t you see that? I’m afraid I will – compete – that’s what scares me. That’s why I quit the theatre department. Just because I’m so horribly conditioned and people to rave about me, doesn’t make it right. I’m ashamed of it. I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody. I’m sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of splash.”1

This also occurs in The Razor’s Edge. After Elliot Templeton’s death, Larry describes how worthless Elliot’s life really was. “An old, kind friend. It made me sad to think how silly, useless, and trivial his life had been. It mattered very little now that he had gone to so many parties and has hobnobbed with all those princes, dukes, and counts. They had forgotten him already.”2

Both of theses examples show how, Franny and Larry do not want to be a part of the stylized like of their societies. Franny was part of a large family in which each sibling was an actor or actress at one point in their lives. Franny was expected to lead a very prestigious life. Attending university in honors program, and becoming a wonderful actress. She wanted to get away; as to what one could, say was her planned life. In addition, Larry did not want to end up like Elliot because Elliot spent his entire life only caring about the stylized life of their societies. Larry did not want to become like Elliot in the sense of materialism, Larry wanted to make something of his life. Both characters, Franny and Larry, realized they needed something to help release them from their invaluable ways of life. Secondly, both characters have gone through many traumatic experiences that led them to have undesirable memories. After Seymour’s suicide in 1955, Franny was never the same person. She was feeling the same sort of pressure that Seymour did and she began to have a mental breakdown. “The child’s laying there by the hour crying her eyes out it you say boo to her, and mumbling heaven knows what to herself, and your father wonders if maybe she’d like a tangerine.”3

Zooey described Franny as a very disturbed and depressed individual, trying to seek a way of life through religion, in which she did not even completely understand herself. “Worse than that, though, I can’t see – I swear to God I can’t – how you can pray to a Jesus you don’t even understand. And what’s really inexcusable, considering that you’ve been funnel-fed on just about the same amount of religious philosophy that I have what’s really...
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