The Teacher Monk Asshole

“Zooey” by J.D. Salinger, 1957

So this is totally the same Franny from “Franny” that wikipedia entry from the “Franny” post was weird about it.

Because this picks up from the event of that story as Franny processes her spiritual change.  With “The Way of the Pilgrim” is the center of this duo of stories.  In fact they are a retelling or modern updating of the idea of that story.  Franny acts in the role of the peasant who sets out to pray without ceasing through the Jesus chant.  Zooey than is in the role of the monk who teaches her how to utilize it properly by trying to focus Franny on how she is actually using it versus how she should be using it.  “Franny” ends with her looking up and mouthing the chant inaudibly and “Zooey” ends with her looking up and not moving her lips at all, prayer focused and internalized.

I’ve been reading Salinger and watching Wes Anderson lately and my god that sounds incredibly pretentious, you fucking college boy.  What they share in common is that they are stories of damaged intelligent youth which because I’m intelligent and I have feeeelings and crap.  I wonder if I’m supposed to take that from Salinger’s work.  Is intelligence and self-awareness a burden?  Is it the worst to be the smartest person in the room?  Or the most aware?  Is intelligence without spirituality a burden?  Is that why I’m so fucking unhappy?

-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011

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