[Updated: Discussion Week? I was not feeling well when I wrote this post and my vacation from blogging seems to have put my thinking brain to sleep – I felt quite inadequate leading a discussion of this book when it’s quite a deep text! So anyway… Thank you to Jeanne for participating! YOU ROCK. Somebody give her some awesome blog award because she deserves one. or more. See comments and click over to her blog if you don’t know her…
and I added MY answers to my questions on Monday, July 12.]
Well, clubbers, I have woken up with the flu! You don’t really need to read a litany of complaints but suffice it to say I feel awful. I will however, as a good book club facilitator, attempt a few questions for anyone to comment on. Here we go:
DISCUSSION DAY FRANNY & ZOOEY Original post with the full idea… (and links to other stuff)
1. Did you like the stories?
I started off the Franny piece quite skeptical. But the mystery of what was going on with Franny – personally I was rooting for her to ditch the college Frat boy and then I was scared she was preggers – and then it got interesting. Then it ended! Zooey was fabulous in how it developed the characters and explains Franny’s situation. I also enjoyed the humor. The setup of how the text was also unique in that it is narrated by someone not really there – um, I mean, I assume that it was the older brother who is narrating and yet he wasn’t in the house that day. Now I have to go back and re-read because I don’t recall the ending. I never seem to remember how stories END – I only remember (or not) if I liked it or not. And by ‘like’ I mean did it provoke any emotion. This one did. I can’t recall exactly what emotion, other than it changed some neurons in a memorable way. Brain is still muddled. I don’t feel very smart right now. OK, I just re-read the ending. As Jeanne says about the Fat Lady – we all have an audience in mind, perhaps? I’m going to take a stab at a theme here: do your best – that’s all the universe wants? Yep, I will re-read the whole book someday. It’s a re-readable one. Whodda thunk I’d ever say such a thing! See what blogging has done to me?!
2. Could you relate to any characters?
I’m going to skip this and jump to the next question.
3. Ever had an existential crisis of your own?
Why yes, I think I have. And I was in college. (Honestly I have existential ‘wonderings’ quite often – I’m always pondering what I should be DOING with my life. Since I assume no one is really going to read this anyway, I’ll share! ha.) OK, in college when I was really not doing well one semester, I decided to change majors. Aw, but to WHAT?! Since I couldn’t figure that question out, I schedule a light semester with minimum full-time credit hours: Glee Club (2 hours – can you believe it?!) Student Senate was 1 credit hour – woo hoo!!, Biology – 5, The History of France from whatever years were the Rev to Napoleon (on a dare – a History major in my sorority was debating that Engineering wasn’t an EDUCATION but a training and shouldn’t be part of a true university (blahblahblah) and that a monkey could do what I was studying. She challenged me to take a history class so I did. LOVED it.) Where was I and why am I telling you this? OH! My crisis! Actually, take all that back, the EC was the semester before that was hard and made me cry. Whatever. The poetry I wrote during those bleak months was (pause, pause) bleak. And no, sorry; I didn’t save any of it.
4. How familiar are you with the philosophies shared? I wouldn’t really call this ‘religious’, would you?
I had not heard of the Pilgrim. I was struck by the possibly Fifties-era use of the word ‘Orient’ to categorize some of the religions discussed and no, I’m probably more aware than most but do not consider myself knowledgeable about Buddhism, Hindu, etc. I would have guessed that the decade for analysis of ego and all the rage to have a ‘therapist’ was in the Seventies but I am even less knowledgeable about that. So, yes, a bit surprised that this was from the 50s.
5. Seeing how these stories were first published in the New Yorker (and not the Kansas Prairie Daily Journal), who do you think was the intended audience Salinger was writing to? What WAS he trying to say?
I have no idea. I based this question on my midwestern notion that New Yorkers are all intellectual snobs. No offense! But there IS a difference in attitudes around the country, wouldn’t you agree? *smiles*
6. I got the sense that Salinger was quite supportive of the Dramatic Arts; that acting is a true and noble profession. Or was he going for something else?
This question is based on my having my preconceptions blown away. I thought it was going to be all “New Yorkers ARE intellectually superior to anyone else living and toiling away in the USA” (again, sorry) and yet, Salinger presented humor, deep thoughts but NOT inaccessible thoughts (aha! midwestern inferiority complex!) and gentle skilled subtle use of those empathy words: sympathy or empathy or ???. (I only took an Industrial Psychology class in college….) I was expecting more scorn and cynicism.
7. Are you aware that an unauthorized film adaption of Franny & Zooey was filmed in Iran in 1995? Me, neither. It was called PARI, directed by Dariush Mehrjui.
OK, I can’t think of anything else (I can’t think at all!) – my brain is all befuddled while the rest of my body aches and reels. Anyone have anything significant to add – I know I missed it here.