Franny vs Holden (J.D. Salinger)

Topics: Franny and Zooey, J. D. Salinger, Jesus Prayer Pages: 2 (706 words) Published: April 27, 2001
Holden as a foil ti Zooey
By: E.S.

Although they are the protagonists from two separate books, Franny Glass, a teenage girl in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, and Holden Caufield, a young man in Salinger's novel Catcher in the Rye, serve as foils to each other. Both suffer unnecessarily due to their interaction with those whom they are close to, due to their relationships with themselves, as well as due to their views on the world. In the end, however Franny and Holden change their values and therefore are able to begin the healing process. Throughout Franny and Zooey, Franny perceives humans to be inherently evil. As a result, she constantly feels frustrated with the egotism and self-centeredness of the world. One of Franny's major outlets for this cynicism is poets. Because poets choose to write about the beauties of life, and Franny is unconvinced that such aspects are human nature, she characterizes the profession as "awful," (18) and "fraudulent." Conversely, Holden does not assume that people are bad; rather, he is an idealist. When he does see others' faults, however, Holden slips into bouts of depression similar to those of Franny. Furthermore, Franny desires to take it upon herself to absolve the sins of the world. For this reason, she often recites "the Jesus prayer." Like the prayer's namesake, Franny experiences guilt for anyone who is not completely righteous. Holden too feels responsible for the prevention of corruptness. His fantasy is to stand in a field and prevent children from falling off the edge, thus saving them from society's imperfections. In addition, a major theme common to both books is the relationship of the protagonist to a sibling, and the healing that ensues as a result. For Franny, this healing comes about through her older brother, Zooey. In his efforts to help his sister, Zooey points out the flaws in Franny's prayers. He shows that by becoming obsessed, Franny is acting as self-centered as the people against which she...
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